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Sunday December 5th

Downtown Carrboro might soon add a new building for ArtsCenter, new library branch

<p>The Town of Carrboro was incorporated 106 years ago, though it was then called Venable. It's now named after North Carolina industrialist and white supremacist Julian Carr.</p>
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The Town of Carrboro was incorporated 106 years ago, though it was then called Venable. It's now named after North Carolina industrialist and white supremacist Julian Carr.

The Town of Carrboro is moving forward with the planning process for the construction of a new building that would potentially host the Carrboro ArtsCenter and an Orange County public library branch.

The building will likely replace the municipal parking lot located next to Open Eye Cafe at 203 South Greensboro St.

The ArtsCenter is currently housed on Main Street and serves over 93,000 people annually, offering a variety of programs including art classes, summer camps and theater productions. It has been at its current location for the past 30 years, but according to ArtsCenter director Dan Mayer, the facility is wearing out. 

“We want to continue to grow because the community is growing and there are fewer opportunities for arts education in schools. There is more and more of a desire for people in the community to connect through the arts,” Mayer said. “I am confident that there is a lot of community support and we just have to keep planning and keep working towards a new building.”

The Board of Aldermen will vote next Tuesday to approve a memo of agreement. While things are still in the early planning and agreement process, a capital feasibility study confirmed the expectation that the ArtsCenter will provide their own funding for their portion of the project. The ArtsCenter plans on bridging financing through capital campaign pledges.

At Tuesday night's meeting, Mayor of Carrboro Lydia Lavelle said she was excited about the financial practicality of the project.

“One of things about this project that we found appealing was the ability to partner together and collaborate and have some shared common space, breaking down the construction, breaking down the construction fees, breaking down the architectural fees, breaking down the shared parking,” Lavelle said. 

“Even with us, the Arts Center, and the county, each of us paying our own amount, it is still a money saver for all the parties that want to participate, and that’s one of the reasons that we want to pursue it and continue to pursue it. We are really hopeful that it will work out and it seems to be moving along well.”

The town of Carrboro currently has two libraries, one located in McDougle Middle School as well as the Cybrary in the Carrboro Century Center. The proposed new library would be the biggest public library in Carrboro. 

Board of Aldermen member Damon Seils said it is something that has been a part of the Town of Carrboro’s vision for decades. 

“We are all very excited about the project, this is something we have been working on for a long time and we already have a development agreement in place with Orange County to begin the project, we hope to get it started very soon,” Seils said. “It’s going to be really great for downtown Carrboro.”

city@dailytarheel.com

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