Lindley Library Derailed

by B J Beckham

The New Grace County Public Library has agreed to build a new branch in Lindley to replace the one destroyed by fire on September 14, 2015.  There is some funding in place, but the county is hoping to pass a bond to raise money. If the bond is approved each resident will be required to pay one dollar on their state return to cover the cost. There will also be several fund raisers throughout the county.

The original library, which was only open for two weeks prior to the fire, was housed in the old Hampton Mercantile and Grain. Upon his death in 2011, Homer Hampton left the property to the county with the stipulation it be used for a public purpose or revert back to his estate. It was the county’s intention to rebuild the library at the same location.  However, the heirs of Homer Hampton have filed for an injunction on the planned construction and seek the return of the property to the estate. Their position is that the will specifically refers to the ‘structure’ being used for a public purpose and as the structure no longer exist the property itself reverts to the estate. A hearing on the issue has been scheduled in the New Grace County Courthouse.

As a possible alternate site, the property owned by the county at the corner of Main and Trouden     was proposed. Unfortunately, the train tracks runs behind it and the railroad has an easement that would make putting a parking lot behind the library impossible. The lot is not wide enough for parking on the side.

“If the county is not successful in court I have no idea where the new library will be built,” said Lindley Mayor Michael Bray.  “I don’t know how long it will take us to get a library if the county has to go through the process of purchasing land.”

Fire Marshall Ruth Perkins has determined the library fire of suspicious origin. An investigation as to the actual cause of the fire is ongoing and no arrests have been made.