The Town of Wagener is hoping that the historic Kitchings Mill Library will soon be located to its new park.
Town officials are in the process of finalizing the details with the movers to relocate the structure from Highway 4 to the end of Park Street, said Wagener Mayor Mike Miller. The project is an effort to preserve the library.
“As far as the town goes, we’re ready,” Miller said. “There was hope to move it in November.”
During the Development Committee meeting held on Tuesday afternoon, County Councilwoman Kathy Rawls asked if the town could use one of the County’s motor graders to level the land in which the Kitchings Mill Library will sit.
Miller added that the roof of the library may have to be removed during the relocation.
The library was established by Della and James Kitching in the 1880s to promote literacy in the Kitchings Mill community. It later became a home for Della’s descendants, who occupied the property until 2012.
The town is working with Cynthia Hardy of the Wagener Museum and other individuals to gather artifacts to place in the old library, Miller said.
Rawls reiterated how happy she is with the plan to move the structure to Wagener.
The initial suggestion was to move the library to the Aiken County Historical Museum, located in the City of Aiken on Newberry Street. The request was approved by the City Design Review Board in early March on the condition that it have a better idea of where the building would sit on the museum’s property.
A variance request was later filed by the County but was unanimously denied by the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals in May. The proposed placement of the library deviated from the 50-feet minimum setback, which is required by the City’s zoning ordinance. The County wanted to avoid setting the structure on a steep hill on the museum’s property, which would have made it difficult to access.
The board also received several negative comments about the possible relocation of the library to the museum from Aiken City residents who felt the structure wasn’t a good fit for the area.
Miller later suggested that the library come to Wagener.
“I am very happy with this solution,” Rawls said. “I think that it’s much better than the original suggestion. It will be used more because the people in this area understand what it is. It’s all very exciting, and I’m so pleased to see it be located here locally.”
The park in which Wagener is currently establishing also includes an old store that once sat by the railroad but was later moved to its current location, Miller said. That building will be used for meetings and small community events.
The rest of the park will be a “non-competitive recreation area” for residents to walk, jog or possibly bike, Miller added.
Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010. She is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and a native of Rustburg, Va.