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$2 million proposed for Hamilton Mill branch

LAWRENCEVILLE - State aid for libraries could come to Gwinnett for the first time in a decade.

Inside the $18.6 billion 2007 budget unveiled last week by Gov. Sonny Perdue is $2 million for the county to build a library branch in the Hamilton Mill area.

Gwinnett County Public Library Director Jo Ann Pinder said the county built seven or eight of its first nine branches with help from the state. The last local branch to be built with state aid was the Five Forks-Trickum branch, which opened a decade ago.

For a time, the state aid program was dormant, Pinder said, but it has been revived over the past several years.

Last year, the city of Auburn got approval for $800,000 in state aid to build a library branch in the city. The city has a library on 7th Street, which is operated by the Piedmont Library System. The money would pay to build a replacement.

Auburn City Clerk Terry McElwee said the city would start interviewing architects at the end of the month to begin that project.

The Hamilton Mill project would take longer, Pinder said. It is expected to open at the end of 2008 or in 2009.

If the Legislature approves the earmark, $2 million in state money will be added to the money already set aside in the 2005 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The county has already set aside land for the library next to the not-yet-constructed Duncan Creek Park on Braselton Highway.

The library system is expected to open two library branches in 2006 - a Dacula branch in April and a Grayson branch in the fall.

Money has been set aside in the 2005 program for the purchase of land for a future branch in the Peachtree Ridge area.