Old city hall being demolished to make way for new library in Lincoln
by Elsie Hodnett
LINCOLN – Local residents are excited that demolition of the old city hall is paving the way for the city’s new library.

“I didn’t know they were building a new library, but I am glad the city is getting a new one,” said Nancy Smith.

Smith said she drives past the old city hall every day.

“I saw it being torn down, but didn’t know what they were doing with it,” she said.

Smith said she hopes that the new library will have extended hours.

“I have had a lot of trouble in the evenings, because the library is closed and my kids use the computers for Internet access for school projects,” she said. “I use them during the day to look up stuff, but my kids don’t get access.”

Smith said she thinks the library would be very busy in the evenings.

“I would at least like to see it open 2-3 hours after school lets out,” she said. “It would help the kids grade-wise at school. If you get kids interested in books and in the library it can help them stay out of trouble.”

Smith said the Internet access is also important for people without it.

“I know a lot of people around here who don’t have Internet,” she said. “I’m glad to hear about the new library.”

Brenda Elkins said she didn’t know anything about the city building a new library.

“I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “My 6-year-old, Eva, might get good use out of a new library.”

Diane Ledbetter said she is glad to see the old city hall gone.

“We tremendously need a new library, and the old city hall was an eyesore sitting there after the new one was built,” she said. “I am absolutely excited about it. The better we look on the main road—the better the city looks. I think it will help attract people and businesses to Lincoln.”

Marvin McCullough said he drives past the old city hall on his way to work each day.

“I’ve been watching it every day,” he said. “It is amazing to see it go away.”

McCullough said it was a shame to see the building sitting there empty.

“Getting a new library is great,” he said. “And they are moving very fast and efficiently getting the old city hall torn down.”

Former mayor Lew Watson said tearing down the old city hall to build a new library is another step of progress for the community.

“The old city hall served its purpose for its time,” he said. “When we first built it in the early 70s, the prospects for community growth weren’t there. There was room for growth when we built it, but Lincoln outgrew the old city hall faster than officials anticipated. We couldn’t foresee everything that was going to happen with the city’s growth and demand for services.”

Watson said it will serve a great purpose as a library.

“We had already added to the building once, and looked at remodeling it,” he said. “But every model we looked at failed to meet community needs. We just couldn’t make it work. Now the new city hall is built and has plenty of room to grow—we learned from previous experience.”

Watson said although he has mixed emotions regarding the old city hall, the positive far outweighs any negative thought.

“It is hard to imagine a better location for building a new library,” he said. “It is something to be celebrated rather than having negative feelings about it. Many, many good things for Lincoln originated in that building, and there is a lot of history there that is still with us. Now the new library will bring good benefits to the community.”

Mayor Bud Kitchin said with weather days, it will probably be late next week before the demolition is completed.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

© 2013