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Calloway Co. Library Board Discusses Smaller Expansion, Judge Exec. Elkins' Records Request

via Rob Canning, WKMS

Calloway County Public Library may see a smaller expansion than had been proposed. The board has been considering plans with an estimated cost upwards of $7.6 million dollars. The plans have met vehement objection from Judge Executive Larry Elkins, who criticized the board in a public address earlier this week.

Addressing Elkins’ concerns in a monthly board of trustees meeting Wednesday, trustee Ricky Lamkin proposed a less expensive option. Lamkin asked the board to consider local architects like Don Riley from Riley Architect or Josh Vernon from Urban Fabric to make a plan for a “smaller library with less cost”. Rather than choosing a plan from the Louisville-based firm that had been hired. Board president Ryan Alessi said “no floor plan is set in stone” and the Louisville firm was hired to present options.

Elkins attended the meeting after months of absence. While he didn’t outright express support for Lamkin’s proposal, he said the discussion was in the right direction.

“I will say that the construction project will be headed in the right direction from this discussion, as the chair said nothing has been decided, but the last plan was the November plan, that was set at $6.4 million.” Elkins said.

He said he supported the board’s decision during the meeting to not add another entrance to the library as had been proposed.

He said he will remain involved in the expansion issue and will be following up on redacted credit card statements that he received from a request for financial records last fall. Lamkin also questioned the board’s actions regarding Elkins' request.

“It was brought to my attention that the judge asked for credit card statements. And the credit card statements that were provided- nearly all of them have redactions on them where you can’t hardly read it. And what do you do when you get that? That raises a level of suspicion.” Lamkin said.

Board president Ryan Alessi said there was a “serious miscommunication.” He said the library believed that Elkins only wanted credit card statements pertaining to marketing expenses and as such redacted unrelated statements. Alessi added that “no one is trying to hide anything” and will provide Elkins with full statements as soon as possible.

Elkins has stated in a previous interview with the Murray State News, that he would not support an expansion costing over $4 million. Elkins has not always opposed an expansion. The Murray Ledger & Times reported in 2011, Elkins delivered a State of the County address in which he outlined several projects he hoped to accomplish as Judge Executive, including "a new public library."

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