By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
WARRIOR — At least two state legislators and several local officials are pulling together for the success of a new library in north Jefferson County.
On Dec. 26, Rep. Allen Treadaway, R-51st, and Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-46th, toured the site of the future Regional Library and Arts Center, along with Warrior Mayor Johnny Ragland, Kimberly Mayor Bob Ellerbrock and members of the Jefferson-Blount Public Library Foundation.
The site is the former National Guard armory in Warrior, which is already being converted to the library and arts center.
“A library can be the heart of a community,” DeMarco said. “I’ve seen it happen. And I will work with you to help you see it happen here.”
Kimberly Mayor Bob Ellerbrock is pleased to see the library and arts center coming to the area.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “We’re sorely lacking in north Jefferson County for some cultural exposure that the library and arts center could help with.”
Brooks Baker III, director of planning, design and construction for the Regional Library and Arts Center, said the help from Treadaway and DeMarco is valuable.
“Both are enthusiastic supporters and I look forward to the help Allen will continue to give us at the state level and the help Paul will give us from Washington.”
DeMarco is running for Alabama’s 6th Congressional District, following an announcement of U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus’ retirement.
The Regional Library and Arts Center is a project that began as a grassroots effort by citizens at least six years ago.
The library foundation has been quietly working to make a reality out of their vision.
Foundation members have acquired grants and donations totaling more than $150,000, but more than $1 million is needed to complete the project.
The community will soon witness a visual improvement to the facility; the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham has given a grant to fund a new facade at the building.
“Having the active support of people such as Paul DeMarco and Allen Treadaway is a real plus for the Regional Library and Arts Center,” said Anne Jolly, president of the library foundation. “I’m especially happy that Paul is interested in helping us. He has a heart for Alabama communities plus a lot of mental energy and know-how.”