RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – City leaders in Russellville are working to expand broadband capabilities for people who live there. The city is looking to secure funding for a brand-new library and multipurpose center.

There’s a house that sits on the corner of Coffee Avenue and Lauderdale Street in the City of Russellville. It’s a piece of property the city is looking to turn into a library and multipurpose center.

“We’re searching for funding to try to make it a reality here for the people in the City of Russellville,” said Russellville Mayor David Grissom.

The Norris family donated the property to the city back in 2020.

Mayor Grissom says Leila and Billy Norris were pillars of the community. They had two family businesses – Norris King Frosty and Norris Printing and Book Company.

On her 100th birthday, Mrs. Norris was presented with a key to the city. She passed away at the age of 103.

“When Mrs. Norris passed away, her son-in-law Mr. Richardson and son Lanny, called and talked to us about the possible donation of the property. They’d like to see a library/multipurpose-type-center that can be used by everyone in the city and something to remember their parents by,” said Grissom.

Efforts to get the center up and running are underway.

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Mayor Grissom tells News 19 the city has applied for earmark appropriations grants, totaling $3.892 million.

“We’ve worked with ADECA. We also applied through Congressman Robert Aderholt’s office back in April 2021, for some earmark grant money. We were unsuccessful then. Now, we have reapplied through Congressman Aderholt’s office again, plus Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s office and Sen. Katie Britt’s office,” said Grissom.

The mayor says he’s hopeful the city will be able to secure some funding.

“A lot of our students don’t have internet at home – that would be something great for our school children to go to the facility and get the broadband internet capability. Multipurpose-type center for different meetings, different groups…I foresee it as being beneficial to all of our citizens of the city,” stated Grissom.

Grissom says a timeline for when construction will start on the center won’t be available until they’re able to secure funding.

The first public library in the city was opened on February 14, 1913, by the Russellville Library Club. 

The city’s current library is located at 110 East Lawrence Street. It has close to 30,000 volumes which include books, audiobooks, CDs, and DVDs. 

The library budget is provided 85% by Russellville City, 15% by State APLS, and has a yearly contribution of 1,000 provided by Franklin County.