Town hall sold to library for $1

A decision by council to sell the town hall to the library board for $1 opens the door for expansion and relocates the town offices

A decision by council to sell the town hall to the library board for $1 opens the door for expansion and relocates the town offices to the Provincial Building.

The sale is conditional on the town having first right of refusal to buy back the building for $1 should the library decide to vacate or terminate its operations.

Council, at its regular meeting Jan. 14, unanimously agreed to accept an offer from the Rimbey Library Board to purchase the town hall, a decision they have wrestled with for several months.

“I am in support of it,” said Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson. “I think the library provides a really great service.”

Coun. Jack Webb agreed.

“I was never opposed to the library expanding, but I liked having the town’s offices centrally located.”

Library manager Jean Keetch is excited council accepted the offer. “It is wonderful. I am just thrilled.”

Keetch said the expansion is sorely needed, noting in 2011 more than 35,000 patrons used the library. She noted due to limited space used books have had to be discarded to make way for new elections.

“We don’t have room for collection when we buy new ones and we don’t have room for the staff or all the people who use the library. This will be an incredible benefit to the community,” she added.

According to the Alberta Public Library Standards formula, the Rimbey Municipal Library should be 6,500 square feet to support the town population and half the county’s population.

The library is currently between 2,300 and 2,800 square feet.

Keetch said fundraising for renovations to be included as part of the expansion needs to begin as soon as possible.

“We will need about half a million dollars for renovations,” she said.

Rimbey CAO Tony Goode said the town needs to finalize negotiations with Alberta Infrastructure regarding a 10-year lease on the upper floor of the Provincial building.

He said the town is looking at leasing the building for $33,000 a year including utilities, though that figure hasn’t been finalized. This cost is about $12,000 more than the town pays now in utility and janitorial costs.

Goode anticipates the move to be completed by early summer.

“We’d like to have it all completed and moved in no later than July 1.”