Aldermen at the Monday evening Cabot City Council meeting approved the purchase of a former grocery store for renovation into a library. Mayor Bill Cypert said this could be the first step toward developing the shopping center into an educational facility.

Cypert and aldermen Ed Long, Ann Gilliam, Rick Prentice, Kevin Davis, Angie Jones and Jon Moore attended the meeting.

Cypert, at the Dec. 3 Budget and Personnel Committee meeting, said the purchase of the former Knight’s Grocery Store building at 909 West Main St. would be part of a nearly $2.4 million expansion of the Arlene Cherry Memorial Cabot Public Library.

Purchase price of the building, appraised at $1.32 million, is $905,000, Cypert said. The offer was made contingent on voter approval of the bond re-funding issue, set for election in April.

The city has placed a $10,000 deposit on the property for the sale to be closed before the end of the year. Cypert said the Knights have asked for the sale to be done this year for tax purposes.

The city’s deposit would be returned if voters do not approve the bond re-funding measure, Cypert said Monday.

To complete the purchase $655,000 is due June 30, 2013, the remaining $240,000 would be financed over three years, Cypert said.

At the Dec. 3 meeting, Cypert said the Lonoke/Prairie Library System Board of Directors will control the renovation project, but the city would own the building, which would be under a long-term lease for the exclusive use of the library, Cypert said.

Moving to the former grocery store will provide nearly 26,000 square feet, and will cost about $2.4 million. That cost does not include the equipment and other furnishings, estimated at about $600,000, Cypert said.

The interior of the building is to be fully renovated, Cypert said at the committee meeting. "The architect tells us … that the basic structure is very sound," Cypert said.

Putting the library in this location would provide easier access and make the library more noticeable on what is considered the "Gateway to the City," Cypert said.

Alderman also approved an amended Unified Development Code for Cabot. The UDC sets the policies and requirements for developing land inside the city and in the planning area outside the city. Some of the requirements set by the UDC include defining residential, planned unit developments (PUD); commercial and industrial areas; the process of public hearings on zoning requests; certificates of occupancy; defining and establishing zoning districts and boundaries; permitted use of land in each zone; special use permits; accessory buildings; and using a home for an occupation — such as dressmaking, computer-based businesses or art studios.

Other actions included approval of Ordinance 19, a retroactive permit for elected officials and city employees to do business with the city. City attorney Jimmy Taylor explained that state law requires the ordinance but one had not been enacted for 2012. Auditors from the state legislative audit agency had found the omission, he said.

Businesses owned by family members were included in the ordinance because state law also limits "indirect" connections to the city, Taylor said.

Aldermen also approved the appointment of John T. White to the Cabot Parks and Recreation Commission.

In his resume White, perhaps better known as Johnny White, listed holding the positions of school district athletic director, from 1986 to 2010, and transportation director from 2008 to 2008.

White also listed having been director of the city parks and recreation program, golf coach, baseball coach and cross-country coach.

White also listed being director of 20 state golf tournaments, 10 state volleyball tournaments, 10 Meet of Champs, 10 state volleyball tournaments, two state softball tournaments, and a state baseball tournament.

Under experience, White listed being responsible for contracting the development of the high school football stadium and the baseball-softball complex and the tennis complex.