COLUMBIA - Plans to construct a new parking lot for the Columbia Public Library at the intersection of Garth Avenue and Walnut Street was approved by the county library board Thursday night.
The Daniel Boone Regional Library Board voted in a closed meeting to authorize the purchase of the lot next to Landmark National Bank that will add 42 to 44 spaces for library users.
The library currently has 237 spaces in both their parking lots. With the additional spaces, 279 to 281 cars could be parked in the library lots, but the Garth and Walnut lot would mainly be for staff parking.
No design has been made yet, but that is the next step. The plan will then go before the City Council for approval.
In the minutes of the May 14 library meeting, the purchase estimate was $261,969 for the lot; $54,246 for the landscaping; and $42,985 for video surveillance. In sum, the total estimated cost for the project totals $359,200, according to a news release from the library.
Daniel Boone Regional Library Director Melissa Carr said the new lot is needed because of increased library usage and lack of sufficient parking on Mondays and Tuesdays, the library's busiest days. Carr said she often hears from patrons that they love the library, but there isn't enough parking.
The library has also seen growth in the number of people interested in summer programs. As of the third day of sign ups for the children's programming, there is an additional 275 children over the previous year. All regular summer programs are set to begin next week.
Public Relations Coordinator Kris Farris said free services such as wireless Internet and computer training are contributing to increased library use.
"We are hoping to have the parking lot ready this winter," Farris said. "It all depends on the steps along the way."