ST. GEORGE – A new library branch in Hildale is one step closer to reality as the Washington County Commission approved the purchase of a building from the United Effort Plan Trust.
Currently, Hildale residents, who share the Utah/Arizona border with residents of Colorado City, Arizona, have to drive approximately 25 miles to Hurricane City to access a public library.
The UEP is the court-reformed trust that holds most of the property in the Hildale and Colorado City area known as Short Creek. The property once was held by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS Church, until a Utah court put the UEP under state control over concerns FLDS leaders were mishandling the trust.
The commission approved the purchase of the Steed Sunday School building at 440 East Newel Avenue in Hildale for $230,000 at a regular meeting Tuesday.
“I’m really excited,” County Library Director Joel Tucker said. “It’s going to be a good thing and I’m really ready to provide that community resource in that area.”
The purchase still has to get final approval from the United Effort Plan, and Tucker expects that to happen within about 10 days.
The 1.14 acre property and building had been considered as a possible temporary location for a new branch library while county officials looked for property to build on, but it will be more economical to retrofit the Steed building as a library, Tucker said.
“With the size and the layout and everything, it really fit well,” Tucker said.
The building is about 5,300 square feet and has an open interior that will require minimal renovation.
“It’s got a lot of, lot of potential for a library layout,” Tucker said. “I’m still fairly optimistic that we could be in by May.”
The new library will provide access “to a meeting space that’s not the church,” among other benefits, Tucker said in an earlier interview.
The library will also bring Hildale residents access to information, educational opportunities, educational programming for children and adults, book clubs, WiFi, Internet access for online job applications and more.
Tucker plans to hire a full-time branch manager and a part-time clerk, and the library will have limited hours similar to the other three small county library branches in Springdale, New Harmony and Enterprise.
Tucker is already purchasing books and equipment and lining up renovation contracts in anticipation of the property sale being finalized. In addition to renovation of the inside of the building, the exterior will need to be landscaped and the parking lot paved.
So far, $80,000 has been spent on books and $40,000 on technology for the new library. Donations of books and money for the project are welcome, Tucker said.
In other business, the commission passed a subdivision ordinance that was tabled at a February commission meeting and authorized the issuance of $1 million in bonds to finance a new fire station near the intersection of state Route 9 and Coral Canyon Boulevard.
The station will be part of the Hurricane Valley Fire Special Service District and paid for with a $500,000 grant from the Permanent Community Impact Fund and a $1 million low-interest loan from the same source, County Administrator Dean Cox said.
The bond will be paid back by property taxes and impact fees within the boundaries of the special service district, which was authorized by voters in 2008, Cox said in an earlier interview. No property tax increases are expected.
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