The likelihood of having a branch library in Columbia’s Edgewood neighborhood became more real Thursday with a $325,000 boost from Richland County Council.
Council gave final approval to a $27 million budget for the county library system. That figure includes the money to help offset a $650,000 shortfall for Edgewood that library leaders told council about last month.
Library officials have been working to convert the neighborhood’s old Dollar General store into the first public library in four decades designed serve a cluster of the city’s historically black communities.
The branch near Harden Street’s Drew Wellness Center will be a long-awaited opportunity for the many low- to moderate-income residents of Edgewood, Celia Saxon, Waverly and other nearby neighborhoods.
For the rest of the shortfall, library officials are in talks with Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and other prospects, library spokeswoman Tamara King said Friday.
But the commitment from the county keeps on track a plan to start showing design plans this summer and begin construction later this year, King said.