City still eyeing Batte Furniture building as home for future Tisdale Library

Batte Furniture and Interiors building could soon be home to the Charles Tisdale Library.
Batte Furniture and Interiors building could soon be home to the Charles Tisdale Library.(Source: WLBT)
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 2:45 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As the city begins taking bids to tear down the old Charles Tisdale Library, officials are still hoping to relocate it to another building down the street.

The city recently began advertising for bids to tear down and clean the former library property at 807 E. Northside Dr.

Meanwhile, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the city still is moving forward with plans to relocate the branch to the former Batte Furniture Building at 1010 E. Northside, about two blocks away.

“We’re holding true to our commitment. We committed a long time ago the best direction we’re going in, and sure enough, that’s where we’re headed,” he said.

Lumumba says that the city just wrapped up an environmental assessment of the Batte building and has brought on an architect to “identify how it will fit our footprint, not only for a library but also [for a] police precinct, so that we’re no longer in a long-term rental agreement,” he said.

“Our rental agreements [amount] to about a million dollars a year. And, so, we’re trying to reduce our rental footprint.”

Precinct Four is located in a shopping center in the 4900 block of Old Canton Road. The city currently leases that space.

Tisdale closed in April 2017 due to flooding and black mold issues there. The Jackson/Hinds Library System turned the building back over to the city in 2019.

Since then, the branch has become an eyesore along the busy Northside corridor. It also has been ransacked by vagrants, with windows being busted out, books being strewn across the library floor and other materials, like shelves, being taken out. Meanwhile, the building had become a dumping ground for shopping carts and other debris.

Batte announced in 2019 that it would be closing after 136 years in operation.

The Batte building was constructed in 1962 and is approximately 41,600 square feet, according to commercialcafe.com. The building is currently listed for $1,695,000.

The city first announced it was looking at moving the library to Batte in June 2021.

Lumumba said efforts have been held up, in part due to “finances. Making sure we’re checking the boxes to make sure that the pots of money we’re trying to use were eligible to do that,” he said. “As you know, I am a naturally impatient person, but I have learned you have to adopt some level of patience when you deal with the bureaucracy of government.”

He said the city is planning to use American Rescue Plan Act dollars to fund the project. The exact cost of the project was unknown, with the mayor saying the city was still in talks with the building owners on price.

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