Cupid and Commissioners throw cents on a dollar at South Cobb Regional Library
Instead of giving the community the funding it deserves for a new library like East Cobb, Cupid and Commissioners vote to fund measly 5,000-square-foot expansion for South Cobb library
Last week, the toned deaf Cobb Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to give the go-ahead for the Cobb County Public Library to apply for a grant to fund a 5,000-square-foot expansion of the South Cobb Regional Library.
This uncaring vote should be unacceptable to all who live in South Cobb. The community deserves better and should demand better. The same amenities that the Cobb Commission placed in other parts of the county should be placed in South Cobb. Instead of a new state of the art building like Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center, Cobb Commission continues to offer the South Cobb community a bandaid in the form of a few dollars to expand or renovate the old library facility that has seen better days.
Let’s go back to January 2018. The AJC wrote an article about Cobb County celebrating the opening of the new Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center, the 28,000-square-foot facility at 2051 Lower Roswell Road. During a ribbon cutting ceremony, attended by state and local representatives in December 2017, Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center, the joint-use project of the library system and Cobb County P.A.R.K.S., was introduced to the East Cobb community. The new facility replaced the old East Marietta Library, after 50 years in service.
Sewell Mill is described as offering traditional library services, including a computer room, children’s area, and teen area. It also includes a Creative Studio, which houses sound booths for audio recording, a recording studio, a video production room with a green screen, and hardware and software for creative projects.
The “cultural center” component features visual and digital creative space, including a black box theater and an outdoor amphitheater where concerts and film screenings will be presented. The cultural art space also includes “a digital maker space commons” with small recording rooms, an art gallery and art classrooms, conference and study rooms, a public computer room, a separate room for teenage-themed materials and a cafe.
In describing the new library in East Cobb, Georgia State Librarian Julie Walker told the audience at the ribbon cutting, “This is truly the library of the future.”
Where is South Cobb’s library of the future? The answer is a simple one gathered from the actions of the Cobb Commission – it is nowhere and not on the radar screen for anyone that represents this area.
We are in need of a new library, not renovations, and this should be at the top of everyone’s list. Please recall that the South Cobb Regional Library closed two years ago, in August 2021, for major renovations as reported by SPOTLIGHT. We called out the problem then and we are calling it out now. Here is an excerpt from that article:
Cobb’s announcement read as follows: The South Cobb Regional Library, 805 Clay Road in Mableton, will be closed temporarily for a major renovation project starting Aug. 2. The library is slated to be closed for three months with the anticipated re-opening on Nov. 1. The operative word here is “major”. The work needed for our Regional Library is substantial and includes interior and exterior repairs. Cobb County Property Management Department officials listed the work as:
- Significant plumbing repairs to correct issues with the existing sewer line that have resulted in several emergency repairs;
- Improvements of the public restrooms;
- Installation of new flooring, tile, partitions and other fixtures; and
- Exterior work, including restoration of the site’s retention pond, landscape improvements, and retrofitting the parking lot lights to LED fixture.
In their announcement, the County said, “the project is designed to enhance the functionality and appearance of the public facility as a safe and engaging community space.” What would be safe and engaging to our community is a new facility that speaks to it being a regional library, similar to our fellow citizens in the east.
For years, South Cobb has been the red-headed step child, forced to accept less, given the hand me downs, and told that we are getting the best, when we know we are not.
What is wrong with this picture in 2023 is no one is listening. No one cares about South Cobb to the same level, and to the same extent, as they care about the rest of the County, such as East Cobb.
During their recent vote, the commission approved a grant application, which would total $2 million and add to about $1.2 million in local funding already committed to the expansion.
If South Cobb Citizens want better, they should contact Chair Lisa Cupid and the Board of Commissioners and demand more than pennies on the dollar for the community. With a new mayor and city council for Mableton, the government of the new city should be involved in what occurs with the library going forward.
Please recall that Cupid fled South Cobb for a zip code in Vinings, but we should hold her feet to the fire in getting what our community needs. In the midst of having done little to nothing for the South Cobb community in the years she has been in Cobb government, Cupid has announced that she is running for re-election.
The community is watching and paying attention. If South Cobb does not deserve a new library, Lisa Cupid does not deserve your vote and has not earned the right to be reelected Chair.