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The Library Vs. Re-Zoning: What Does It Mean?

"Of all the institutions we have, both public and private, the public library is the truest democratic space."

There is currently a rumbling in the local conscience over a re-zoning issue that involves the Russellville Public Library and a convenience store named Casey's. To most, this may not immediately register as anything other than yet another punch line to the joke of how many convenience stores/gas stations this city has. But dig a little deeper and you'll see how this could deeply affect our community.

On Monday, May 23rd there was a public hearing in the City Council Chambers regarding the rezoning motion that would consider changing the zoning from C-1 (Central Business District) to C-2 (Highway Commercial) for the old Rally property located at 311 W. Arkansas.

What does this mean? Well, if they succeed the library won't be able to expand in its current location, which they've been planning on doing for several years.

"The new Russellville Library will be 54,000 ft2 – 68,000 ft2 which means we will need the full imprint of the block including that land for the facility and parking. If the zoning for this corner is changed, it will affect future plans for the library."

Despite multiple concerns voiced at the meeting, the vote on Monday passed. The Planning Commission’s 5-3 vote, will move it on to City Council on Thursday, June 23rd.

This is where you come in. Here are a couple of options for you to throw your hat in the ring.

- contact your city council members: City Council Members Contact Info

- donate to the library's building fund: Building Fund

- sign the petition: Stand With the Library

- share this image: Post on facebook, tweet it, shout it from the rooftops

The Russellville Public Library serves between 400-700 people per day. They provide Summer Reading Programs, they put on fun shows and events, they engage children and connect with them, not to mention they assist adults in providing public computers to help them search for jobs. The list goes on and on. There are countless reasons the library is an incredible asset to our community, but not a single reason to restrict their growth to make way for the General Store.

As you can see- the placement of this convenience store would be anything but convenient. Especially since it would be one block away from a gas station, and two blocks away from a Dollar General. Not exactly a needed addition to the area.

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