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Fund-raiser planned for new Hampton library

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

A new branch library is set to open in Hampton.

During the council's regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan Lowe, a member of the Henry County Library Board of Trustees, and wife of Hampton City Councilmember Arley Lowe, updated the city council on plans to hold a celebratory fund-raiser for the facility.

She told the council the fund-raiser for the 15,900-square-foot facility, located at 61 McDonough St., is scheduled for Sept. 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. Tax deductible donations of $25 per person will be accepted, and some local authors have been invited to sign copies of their books, she said. Funds collected from the event will be used to buy new books for the library, she added.

Tickets are available at the Hampton City Hall, 17 East Main St.; all Moye's Pharmacies, and First National Bank of Griffin on Ga., Highway 19/41, said city officials.

Because of the sluggish economy, there is little money left over in the library board's budget to buy new books, Jan Lowe said. The money from the fund-raiser will help generate the revenue to make those purchases.

The new building is needed to replace the older facility, located at 14 Old Griffin Road, she said. The existing structure was donated by the Fortson family in November 1974, she said. "It's been there for many years. It's shown the wear of time," she added.

Arley Lowe said he is enthusiastic about the new facility. "We're excited about it," he said. "What people don't realize is that it will be the only Henry County library west of Interstate 75. We're very proud."

In keeping with the city's historical atmosphere, the building's architecture will be similar to the architecture of the Hampton train depot, said Arley Lowe.

Construction on the new library is expected to be complete by next month, according to Julie Hoover-Ernst, Henry County communications director. The construction project costs $2,895,000, and funds for the work were drawn from the county's Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) III budget, she said.

The current library is closed, in anticipation of the new building opening, she added.

The new building will benefit the community, said Hampton City Manager Andy Pippin.

"The people of this district will benefit tremendously from having this resource in their backyard," he said. "No longer will Hampton and west Henry residents have to cross the interstate, and further complicate the already stressful traffic issues we see every day. As someone who looks more at the economics of an investment, I see the city and the businesses of Hampton possibly enjoying higher revenues, due to more and more people coming to Hampton to visit this regional library."