Saturday, October 2, 2010

Operation Feed the Pig

From time to time I’ve mentioned my involvement with the local public library. We have long since outgrown our old building, and when I use the adjective “old”, I am providing a literal description of the building. Our library is housed in Dyersburg’s old post office which was built in 1912. Although it is beautiful, stately, and historical, the wiring is inadequate, it is landlocked (preventing expansion), there is little parking, and ADA compliance is a serious problem since the building is 3 stories and the only transportation between the floors is an old service elevator that rarely works. Compounding the obvious difficulties with the current facility, our county needs a good library like never before. Sadly, our county ranks high in unemployment and adult illiteracy, and low in its rate of high school graduates. At the beginning of this school year, 72% of the children entering the city’s primary school were eligible for free or assisted lunches. To say that this project is way overdue is an understatement. But we had some wonderful, and unexpected, news on Thursday, Sept. 30th. Late last spring I applied for a loan and grant that I spent weeks preparing. Since Sept. 30th was the end of the fiscal year for the granting entity and I had not heard a word, I was confident that we had been passed over; but my phone rang early Thursday morning and I heard wonderful news. It is my understanding that our project was the last one to receive approval, but we are going to get both the loan and the grant. Now there is still a lot of money to raise, but we could not have had better news. It is my belief that with this assistance, we will see this project begun and possibly completed in 2011. All I can say is “Hallelujah”!

Dyersburg's old post office, built in 1912, is stately and historic; but it is no longer suitable for the needs of a modern library.

This is not a beautiful sight in downtown Dyersburg, but our architect tells us that the building is ideal for conversion into a useful and unique library facility. The obvious good points are a one level structure with a large parking lot.

This little piggy is overlooking the rendering of the new library that is shown on the front of our fundraising brochure. I believe this facility will be a beautiful addition to our county. As soon as it is built, our library trustees and staff have big plans for instituting additional and innovative programming to address the appalling rates of illiteracy in our midst, but we need a structure in which to work that will allow us to provide the services of a modern library.

Those of us who are raising funds call our campaign “Operation Feed the Pig”. There is a reason for this. The property we are purchasing for the renovation is an old grocery store building that originally housed a Piggly Wiggly. The Piggly Wiggly has long since closed and the building is now rental property which has been primarily utilized for industrial purposes; but it is in the heart of downtown and ideally located. Since it is directly across the street from Dyersburg’s City Hall, it will provide a much needed facelift to that area of downtown. This project benefits our community in a multitude of ways and our residents are very excited that our effort has finally taken wings. If you visit Dyersburg, you might just see Piggy Banks situated near the checkout counters of many retail establishments. It will take all of us to make this happen, but it is a good thing for everyone in the community to feel pride and ownership in this very important project.


Jan M said...

Congratulations on the receipt of the grant and loan! It is amazing what empty grocery stores can become -- and there are plenty these days living new lives. Best wishes as the little piggy banks continue to fill up!

Carol Harris said...

Thank you so much. It will be an uphill climb but we'll get there.

As a matter of trivia, the owner of the Piggly Wiggly building is an attorney in Memphis that your husband knows. He came from an old and prominent Dyersburg family.

Post a Comment

Blog Designed by Rita of CoffeeShop