Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library

The Opelika City Council plans to vote Tuesday on a project that will either bring upgrades and expansion to the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library or a completely new library.

The Opelika City Council approved a project involving work on the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library, the city’s public library, during its meeting on Tuesday. The project will include renovating and expanding the library or, alternatively, designing and building a new library.

The city has retained Lathan Associates Architects, P.C. to provide architectural, consulting and related services in connection with the project. The timetable and the cost of the project have yet to be disclosed.

The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library, located at 200 South Sixth St., was named on May 10, 1976 in honor of former Opelika mayor Lewis Cooper Jr., who served as mayor from 1967 until his death in 1975.

Cooper was instrumental in the raising of about $500,000 for the 15,000-square-foot building. The library houses about 46,000 books and includes a reading section, an art gallery, an audio-visual room and an exhibit featuring historic items of Opelika.

In April the library received the 2019 Gold Standard Award for Public Libraries, which is the highest level of achievement for an Alabama public library. The overall facility, planning, administration and governance, collection, services and technology are among the categories used to rate public libraries in the state.

“While we are excited to receive this award, it was only possible because of the hard work of Cooper Library staff, the support from the city of Opelika administration and because of the people of Opelika who we enjoy serving every day,” library director Rosanna McGinnis said in April. “We are proud to be a community connecting point for Opelika. We are so much more than a dusty warehouse for books.”

Ward 2 grass concerns

During the council’s last meeting on May 21, Ward 2 councilwoman Tiffany Gibson-Pitts raised concerns about certain areas of the ward not being properly maintained as far as overgrown grass around rights of way and sidewalks. Gibson-Pitts provided an update and a message of thanks to the council before Tuesday’s meeting adjourned.

“I'd like to publicly thank Mayor (Gary) Fuller, (city administrator Joey Motley) and (director of ESG/public works Mike Hilyer) for riding through Ward 2 with me maybe about a week or so ago. I had some concerns about the grass not being cut, so a lot of the areas have been taken care of,” Gibson-Pitts said. “I do appreciate your support with taking care of that.”

Other action

Additionally, the council:

>Approved an agreement with CDG Engineering & Associates to create intersection improvements and pedestrian sidewalk improvements for Pepperell Parkway.

>Approved Opelika entering into an All Hazard All-Emergency Mutual Aid Assistance memorandum alongside other political subdivisions located wholly or partially within the states of Alabama and Georgia and the United States Army’s Fort Benning. The memorandum will allow for the sharing of resources, personnel and equipment in the event of a local disaster or other emergency.

>Reappointed Jarad Scher and Cecil Morgan to the Celebrate Alabama Improvement District; appointed Jay Stern to the Celebrate Alabama Cooperative District; appointed Bill Parker Jr. to the Indian Pines Rec. Authority; appointed Aesha Gentry to the LRCOG/MPO-Citizen Advisory Committee; appointed Michael Carter to the Property Maintenance Board of Appeals;

>Made a special appropriation of $10,000 to the EAMC Foundation to help with the cost of the foundation’s annual Christmas Ball as well as to benefit the activities and programs of EAMC.

>Contributed $2,000 from the Ward 2 current year discretionary funds to be spent on Bandy Day, which will take place June 29 at Bandy Park in Ward 2.


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