Piggott State Bank Makes Donation to Library

Thursday, November 21, 2013
On hand for the recognition ceremony for Piggott State Bank were, from left: Front-Library Director Gay Johnson, Paula O. Blackwell of Piggott State Bank, Library Board representative Duane Dutka and Piggott Mayor Gerald Morris. Back-Cody Knight and Jim Poole of Piggott State Bank.

An improvement project involving the Piggott Public Library, years in the making, became a reality recently thanks to a generous donation by Piggott State Bank. Monday morning bank officials were recognized as the effort nears completion.

For a number of years the possible expansion of the Piggott Public Library has been discussed, as the facility is slowly outgrowing the building which was constructed 29 years ago. But, the matter was later tabled due to the fact the library building is land-locked on three sides by Main Street, an alley and a private business. The only option for expansion was the lot, and the abandoned house which occupied it, immediately west of the library at the corner of West Main and North Fourth Avenue.

"Several years ago Piggott State Bank attempted to purchase the property from Charles Lloyd Smith and donate it to the library," noted County Library Board member Duane Dutka. "But, there were title issues with the property and they were unable to complete the purchase at that time."

Dutka explained the matter remained on the minds of city leaders, and bank officials, and was recently re-visited as the Smith property was among those considered for condemnation by the city council. This prompted the owners to seek legal counsel, and during the process a compromise was reached.

In order to facilitate the plan the city organized a Piggott Library Board, charged with acquiring the property and handling demolition of the house which occupies the lot. Named to the board by Piggott Mayor Gerald Morris were Dutka, Don Roeder, Roma Richardson, Julia Jones, John James, Joe Cole and Jerry Morgan.

Once the board was organized they voted to accept a $20,000 donation from Piggott State Bank. "The money donated by Piggott State Bank will not only pay for purchasing the property, but also to demolish the current structure," Dutka explained. "Once the board has completed that task it will be dissolved, and control of the property will revert back to the county board--which oversees all three of the county libraries."

At this point, any further plans for the lot will be dependent on funding and will be decided by the county library board.

"This is really big for Piggott, and we appreciate Piggott State Bank for the donation," Dutka added. "This will not only allow the library a chance to expand or add parking, it will also greatly improve that part of town--it's a good thing for Piggott."

Monday morning Dutka joined Piggott Library Director Gay Johnson and Mayor Gerald Morris in presenting a plaque to Piggott State Bank in appreciation of the donation. On hand to accept the plaque for the bank were President/CEO Paula O. Blackwell, Jim Poole and Cody Knight.

"The Piggott Public Library is vital to our community," Blackwell noted of the facility. "It has so much to offer people of all ages--books, programs, computers and self-educational tools. It is a great asset."

In looking back at local history, the support of Piggott State Bank for worthwhile causes is nothing new. "We believe we must give back to the community in which we live and serve--in fact, we feel very strongly about supporting the community where we all live and raise our families," Blackwell added.

In years past Piggott State Bank has exhibited that support in a variety of projects, including a major downtown streetscape effort. The bank has also sponsored such projects as the scoreboard in the new PHS gym and renovations at Sugar Creek Country Club.

"We also work to help provide for children in need through Piggott Community Sharing Hearts, Inc., which was started with a $25,000 donation from the bank," Blackwell added. "This entity provides for students of Piggott Public Schools and attends to their needs for clothing, school trips and graduation and prom needs--we're also involved in providing two annual four-year scholarships for PHS graduating seniors. And, that's only a few of the many local projects we support."

The current Piggott Public Library was constructed in the early 1980's and opened to the public in December of 1984. It replaced the original library building, constructed by the WPA in the 1930's, which is still located just west of the First Baptist Church. For over 25 years after the library moved the former building served as the law office of Attorney John Lingle.

According to Dutka, now that funding has been secured the board has begun the process of hiring someone to demolish the house adjacent to the library and that phase of the job should begin soon.

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  • Very generous indeed.

    -- Posted by JCfromMounds on Fri, Nov 22, 2013, at 2:46 PM
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