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Social Circle buys Welcome Inn for new library

The W.H. Stanton Memorial Library in Social Circle could be used by the senior citizen program once a new 12,000-square-foot library is built on Cherokee Road. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

The W.H. Stanton Memorial Library in Social Circle could be used by the senior citizen program once a new 12,000-square-foot library is built on Cherokee Road. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

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The city of Social Circle acquired the Welcome Inn at 184 S. Cherokee Road for $125,000. The property will be the location of a new library, which is part of the city’s master plan to revitalize the downtown area. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

SOCIAL CIRCLE — With a master plan to revitalize the downtown area, the city of Social Circle recently acquired a blighted structure with hopes of constructing a new 12,000-square-foot library on the property.

The city purchased the Welcome Inn, located at 184 S. Cherokee Road, for $125,000, which will come from the city’s general fund reserves.

“We’ve had a series of meetings several years ago about the downtown plan and that property was one we wanted to gain,” City Manager Doug White said. “When it was appraised and the owner approved our offer, we didn’t want to miss that opportunity.”

White said the building underwent asbestos testing last week. Since the old motel tested positive, the asbestos must be removed before demolition can begin.

“The existing structure will be removed as soon as we can and until we can fund the new library, the property will become a green area,” White said. “We don’t want to leave an unslightly building. Bad things can happen with empty buildings. We hope to have demolition completed by the spring. Since the library is not one of our top priorities for the SPLOST funds, it could be about four or five years before it’s built.”

Once the new library is built and opened, there are plans to move the senior citizen program from the community room in the Public Safety Building into the existing library.

The W.H. Stanton Memorial Library currently sits at 1045 W Hightower Trail, Social Circle. The building would allow the senior program to expand, White said.

Social Circle’s master plan is to create an amphitheater behind the new library’s parking lot stretching down to the depot area for events and festivals.