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McKENZIE (August 10) — On August 9, before Mayor Jill Holland, the McKenzie City Council, and an audience of citizens, members of the McKenzie Public Library Enrichment Foundation, a 501(c) (3) corporation, revealed their goal of building a new public library facility for McKenzie.
The foundation group comprises Mark Warren, Frank Tate, Nola Hobbs, Brent Bradberry and Mona Batchelor. They began meeting in the summer of 2017 driven by a shared vision of developing and building a new library and community learning commons. Over the past year, the group has met regularly defining intentions, establishing goals, and developing a plan. After researching various options and possibilities throughout the city, they have chosen to focus their attention on an area just off the town square and adjacent to the McKenzie City Hall.
During Thursday’s presentation, Batchelor described a modern public library/community learning commons as an open, modern learning space that includes areas for information technology, programming for all ages, remote or online education, tutoring, employment counseling and assistance, collaboration, multimedia content creation, meeting rooms, and spaces for reading or study. With the necessary permissions and funding, the final plan would also include a FEMA Safe Space. Such a facility offers many elements of the “community center” of days gone by, but is retooled and equipped to serve the needs of a modern, evolving 21st Century population.
In speaking to the monetary requirements and fundraising necessary to turn vision into reality, Warren assured the council that the group was not seeking to take funding away from any other community projects or endeavors, but rather will seek grant monies and private contributions for the build.
The foundation group feels that McKenzie and the surrounding area would benefit for generations to come from the augmented services a facility such as this would provide. They hope their vision for a heightened sense of community, programming for all ages, enhanced safety, and inclusion will resonate with citizens as a worthy ideal.