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Library system scouts sites
Branches could go near greenspace
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Forsyth County News

The Forsyth County Public Library System has its eye on a piece of property the Forsyth County commission recently bought as greenspace.

Director Jon McDaniel told the library board during its meeting Monday that the Wallace Tatum tract, which includes 186 acres in northwestern Forsyth, has the potential to house a library branch.

The county commission bought the site for $8.9 million in December, using funds from a $100 million parks and greenspace bond voters approved in February.

"I'm just starting the process of contacting parks and recreation to see how much planning they have done so we can get in at an early stage, but it isn't a done deal," McDaniel said.

"It's almost half a mile from the dead center of the whole northwest service area if you're using Hwy. 369 as the logical transportation route, so it would be an excellent place for a library."

A library could be a good complement to ball fields and other amenities that McDaniel said are planned for the site.

McDaniel said he also checked out a spot in deep south Forsyth where developer Taubman Inc. plans to build an upscale live-work-play community.

The 164-acre tract is between Union Hill and McFarland roads near the Fulton County line.

The county commission in December signed an incentives package agreement with the developer, sealing the deal.

McDaniel said 22 acres of the property has been given to the county as greenspace, but he doesn't think it can be used for a library.

"I went out to the site, but unfortunately it was all definitely wetlands," he said. "If it wasn't standing water, it was pretty close to it."

The county commission has slated $7.2 million of the most recent extension of the 1-cent sale tax for a library on Post Road.

According to information McDaniel said he has received from Chief Financial Officer Bill Thomas, the library likely won't get the money for two more years.

McDaniel said additional state funding to help cover the costs of a new library branch could come through as early as spring.

"So we were encouraging Mr. Thomas that if we got that money we would go out for an architectural services bid to construct and design the branch and we would prefer to get the money in 2010, if not earlier, to get materials," he said.

"He said right now he's got us penciled in for 2011 so we'll probably need to revisit that."

The board's next meeting is set for March 16.