Town of Ellerbe: Library could move, Rankin Museum wants building

Only a maybe, and at least a year away

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ELLERBE — Bill Webb, attorney for the town of Ellerbe, discussed one scenario in which Kemp Memorial Library could be relocated to accommodate the wishes of the The Rankin Museum of American Heritage.

The issue came up Monday during the town’s monthly public meeting. No one from the museum was present. Webb explained that the two entities, governed by separate boards, are joined physically in a shared building. During an informal discussion with Rankin Museum board member Willa Spivey, Webb said museum officials made it known they’d like to acquire the building.

Richmond County Public Library System officials posted this before-and-after image of the recent renovations at Kemp Memorial Library.

Richmond County Public Library System officials posted this before-and-after image of the recent renovations at Kemp Memorial Library.

“There’s some hurdles we have to get around,” Webb explained. “As far as the actual transfer, I think we can legally do that because (the museum) qualifies as a nonprofit to take the property. I think we meet that test. It boils down to more of a practical problem — it’s really hard to convey part of that land.”

That’s because the newly renovated library shares the connected structure, Webb noted — shared heating and air-conditioning, common parking and more.

“There’s not even a firewall” between the two entities, said Mayor Lee Berry.

Webb said “that doesn’t mean thing are impossible.”

Webb asked Berry and Town Council members to “keep an open mind” as possibilities are considered. One idea, Webb said, is already moving forward with additional discussion. He said he knows of a property owner whose building could be vacant in less than a year — and that building could be perfect for the library.

“What I’m able to do is explore the possibility of getting another location for the library and having a new library location for the Kemp,” Webb said, emphasizing it’s only in the discussion phase.

“If you could re-site the library … I think that paves the way” for the Rankin Museum to take over the entire building.

“Really, the museum could use all of that space,” Webb said. “It’s sort of time for the museum to … spread its wings. I think that’s what everybody would like to see anyway. I think there’s some opportunity.”

Webb said it’d likely take “a year or more” to accomplish the transfer, even if successful.

Berry said it’s the town’s job to spend taxpayer money as wisely as possible. Currently, the town is responsible for upkeep on the entire building and grounds.

“By the Ranking Museum taking over that building, it would save us some money in the long run. We’re running the ship as efficient as we can.”

 

 

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Latest Headlines, News

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