Montevallo looks at buying more property for library

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Montevallo&8217;s town council is looking into buying 1.3 acres of land adjacent to its soon-to-open library. The city is negotiating with the Studdard family for the undeveloped land.

At a financial committee meeting on Aug. 18, council members said their appraisal for the property puts its value at $161,000, while the two sons and their mother said its worth is $220,000.

&8220;What we have to do is to go back to the Studdards and ask what can we do to compromise,&8221; said Councilwoman Dana Byrd.

Almost 40 residents showed up at the Aug. 14 council meeting to show their support for the acquisition. At that meeting, the council voted to write an unbinding letter of intent to the Studdards, saying the city was still interested in buying the land.

The family had asked to receive a letter of intent by Aug. 21.

&8220;I have concerns the Studdards may go forward if they don&8217;t have a letter of intent,&8221; said Councilwoman Hollie Cost. &8220;How can we be sure this won&8217;t slip through our fingers?&8221;

Library director Jane Clayton, and others who addressed the council, stressed that the land would mean much to the future of the library.

&8220;If we don&8217;t buy this property, we fear less attractive uses for it,&8221; said Clayton. &8220;Things that would spoil the view from those beautiful Palladian windows.&8221;

Clayton also said the land could be used for festivals, farmers markets and many other outdoor uses.

The financial committee is expected to talk with the Studdard family and make a recommendation to the council at the Aug. 28 meeting