(TNS) -- The recently adopted state budget gives the city of High Point another option for financing the proposed library plaza project.
A provision in the $21.7 billion spending plan makes $1 million available through the N.C. Department of Commerce, but the city would be required to spend $1.43 million to receive the grant.
Sen. Trudy Wade, a Greensboro Republican who represents a district that includes portions of High Point, helped secure the allocation through the state's Main Street Solutions program.
The High Point City Council in May approved an architectural concept for the redesign of the parking lot of the High Point Neal F. Austin Public Library based on the revitalization proposals of the Ignite High Point master plan.
The concept calls for creation of a gathering space to host community events and library programming, as well as a children's program area, landscaping, farmer's market stalls and "pocket parks" in the parking lot.
Another possible use for the site is a program of classes for school-age children called science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
The project has an estimated cost of $2.1 million and the city has identified a funding source: a portion of $5.7 million in two-thirds bonds issued in 2012.
Revitalization advocates hope the possible state funding will allow the city to move forward with the full version of the library project instead of the scaled-down concept approved by the council.
The hope is that extra state money could allow for the purchase of two properties next to the library parking lot on N. Elm Street at the roundabout, which is not part of the option the council endorsed.
It will be up to the council to decide whether to seek the state grant once contractors have submitted construction bids and officials know how much the project will cost.
"We've still got to come up with the scope of what we want to do," said Deputy City Manager Randy McCaslin. "Our people are working hard on putting the bid package together and the final engineering drawings. Later on this fall, we'll have the whole package coming to council."
City officials are coordinating plans for the library project in conjunction with a proposal to bury overhead utility lines, replace water and sewer lines, and improve intersections along N. Main Street between Westwood and Parkway avenues.
McCaslin said city officials haven't encountered anything unexpected in designing the library project, but it takes significant engineering work to translate an architectural sketch plan into something that can be built.
"It's a lot more than just pouring curb and planting a few trees," he said. "There's significant stormwater storage pipes under the (library) parking lot to help control flooding downstream in that basin, so all that's got to be worked around to make sure we don't do anything to damage that."
Wade also helped secure an additional $544,528 for the High Point Market Authority in the state budget.
"I'm just glad we were able to help at the General Assembly," Wade said. "The furniture market is crucial to the economy of the state, and anything that can help with revitalization is a great asset."
©2015 The High Point Enterprise (High Point, N.C.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.