Efforts Underway To Help Preserve Lynn Haven's Old Library

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LYNN HAVEN - The effort to save a historic Lynn Haven building is gaining momentum.

The Lynn Haven Heritage Society has been gathering signatures and donations to save the old McMullin library.

The community is beginning to come together behind the project.

The Lynn Haven Public Library had it's humble beginnings in 1911, when fourteen women started a literary club with one book and three magazines. By 1915, they'd collected 500 books. In 1922, one of the city founders, Frank McMullin, donated a building and land at the corner of 9th Street and Ohio Avenue to serve as a library.

It became known as the Elizabeth King McMullin library, Bay County's first library.

In the 1960's the Northwest Florida Regional Library System built a new facility, and moved the original building to 9th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The vacant building now sits behind Lynn Haven's City Hall and the years have taken a toll, the building is structurally unsafe.

But City Commissioners have agreed to restore the facility for public use.

Richard Walker, the Coordinator for the Library Renovation Committee said, "It would become the tourist center for the City of Lynn Haven, it would become possibly the archives for the City of Lynn Haven, all the historical data would be removed and put into it and a possible reading room. They are tentative plans that have been identified and we have to move in sections to do this."

City officials and members of the Heritage Society hosted a block party on Florida Avenue this past weekend to raise funds for the preservation project. The project won't be cheap.

Sandy Watson is the Secretary for the Lynn Haven Heritage Society and said, "Even with a grant it's gonna cost over a hundred thousand if not more. So we can get a grant and we have old windows and we have everything renovated so it's historically correct and that takes more money."

Some residents say they'll volunteer to work on the building, keeping costs down.

The renovation committee wants to make sure any work does not ruin the building's historical value.

City officials also want to see if they can get the structure on the historical registry.