NORTH KINGSTOWN–In 2018 it was a mandate by the people of North Kingstown to sell its old library building when almost 80 percent of the voters approved the sale during a special election.
Now, the next chapter of the old library is one step closer to being written after North Kingstown Town Manager Ralph Mollis presented a $94,000 check to the North Kingstown Free Library Corporation last week after selling the property at 55 Brown Street.
According to a statement from the Town of North Kingstown, the building had been vacant since early 2016.
“The town manager, with the direction and authorization of the North Kingstown Town Council, then entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with Eve Clulow to sell the premises for the purchase price of $100,000,” the statement reads.
According to the press release Clulow’s plans for the building include the proposal of a multi-purpose venue for performing arts, restaurant, private & public functions and other creative possibilities that would contribute to the Village of Wickford. Clulow will be maintaining the integrity of the original structure.
As part of a court judgement regarding the sale of the property, $94,000 out of the $100,000 was donated to the library. This donation should be used by the library for traditional library resources and services.
“In accordance with a court judgement in regards to the sale of the property, $94,000 of the $100,000 sales price would be donated to the Library to be ‘spent on traditional library resources and services,’ would not be considered as a part of the maintenance of effort for library operations and the remaining $6,000 would be retained by the Town of North Kingstown in reimbursement of the various costs such as surveying, etc.,” the press release stated.
North Kingstown Free Library Director Susan Straub said that they are grateful to get the funds in order to make improvements to the library.
“The North Kingstown Free Library is grateful and excited to receive the proceeds from the sale of the former library building at our original location on 55 Brown Street. As outlined in our strategic plan, which is available on our website, we have many updates that need to be made to our current building’s interior,” Staub stated in a email. “These updates will not only create an improved environment for our patrons but also help us continue to provide the excellent services that town residents have come to expect from our library. We are excited to get moving on this.”
Mollis echoed a similar sentiment saying that he and the Town of North Kingstown are excited to move ahead with the highly anticipated project.
“We are excited to move forward on this project which will be an asset to the Village of Wickford while also providing the North Kingstown Library with funds that will allow them to provide valuable resources and services to the residents of North Kingstown and the thousands of visitors to the Library, especially during these challenging times,” stated Mollis. “I want to thank the residents of North Kingstown for their overwhelming approval of this sale and the town council for their vision in putting this on the ballot and their support and direction in the sale of this property.”
Mollis said that aside from being able to repurpose a vacant building and getting it back onto the tax rolls, he expects that the renovations of the building will be a significant improvement for the community overall.
“This will be a significant improvement to the Village of Wickford, the placement of a vacant building back on our tax roll and a significant contribution towards the services of the North Kingstown Library.”