The site was formerly occupied by the bar called Cozy Corner, and it was also the home where Joe D. Johnson said he grew up. Johnson said his parents owned the bar, which closed many years prior.
“After going through it, I'm having a few mixed emotions, but I think this is a good thing,” Johnson said. “And it'll be a wonderful project. The only thing is, I'm sad that it wasn't named after my parents, but hey, it is what it is.”
As part of a speech from Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan ahead of the actual ground breaking ceremony, he recognized the Johnson family for their part in securing the location for the new library.
He also recognized former City Council members and former Mayor Alan McGraw, who is now the Round Rock Municipal Judge and contributed to planning for the new library. The city had evaluated multiple possible sites, both in and out of the downtown area, before having a study done to determine what might be the best placement for a new facility. Morgan said he met with Johnson to see if he would be open to the idea, which he was.
“Sure enough, he was kind enough to do it,” Morgan said. “We had a lot of conversations in the city facility to try to negotiate a fair deal to the Johnson family, first and foremost, and a way to get it down here. And through those negotiations, sometimes I wondered if it was going to happen. But we both kept coming back. And now it is here. It's the fruition of this. I want to thank all the Johnson family, y'all stand up because we couldn't have done it without you.”
Library Director Michelle Cervantes said her heart was “filled with joy” at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“60 years ago, a group of determined citizens came together to start the Round Rock Public Library,” Cervantes said. “We honor and remember those who helped us start this journey.”
June marks the 60th anniversary of the Round Rock Public Library, Cervantes said. She likened the process of completing the new library to a marathon, saying that the groundbreaking was “mile 20.”
“This can be one of the most challenging mile markers for a marathon runner,” Cervantes said. “It's also one of the most exciting because we're so close to the finish, just 6.2 miles left, or in this case, 17 months.”
The library’s construction is expected to be completed in 2023. It will be directly north of the existing Round Rock Public Library’s location at 216 E. Main St. The three-story, 66,000-square-foot building will have a 300-space parking garage that will serve library visitors as well as the downtown area.
Construction costs for the new library total $29.8 million and include the garage. The project will be paid for with sales tax revenue.