Relocating the Metro Archives from Green Hills to struggling Hickory Hollow Mall in Antioch is off the table, and Metro won’t decide until this spring whether it will build a new library and community center in the mall.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Metro Councilman At-large Ronnie Steine, Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said the city lacks an agreement with the mall’s owner to purchase the property for the archives.
“We do not intend to include the Metro Archives in our plans for Hickory Hollow but will continue working with [Metro Public Library Director] Donna Nicely and the staff of the public library to find the most suitable and affordable location,” Riebeling wrote.
Riebeling could not immediately be reached Tuesday night for comment.
The letter also suggests Metro ultimately may not purchase the mall’s property to house a new public library or community center either.
“As you know, we had discussed locating the archives with the proposed move of the Southeast Public Library to a new location inside the old J.C. Penney’s building at the mall,” Riebeling wrote.
“Currently, we have no agreement with the building owners to purchase the property although we are in the process of obtaining an appraisal which we would use to come to a conclusion later this spring about whether to acquire the property for the library and community center,” he wrote.
A letter sent to Mayor Karl Dean and authored by Councilman Eric Crafton Jan. 27, signed by several council members, had asked the mayor to consider moving the archives to the downtown Best West building.
Riebeling does not allude to Crafton’s letter in his letter to Steine.
Last year, the mayor had planned to move the fairgrounds expo center to Hickory Hollow Mall, while transforming the mall to hold a new public library, community center and archives building.
Those plans were pulled in early December when Dean retreated on his fairgrounds redevelopment plans. Still, his administration had indicated it planned on introducing an ordinance outlining a new set of leases to allow the public entities to open at Hickory Hollow.