Cobb’s Gritters Library to become new community center after delayed expansion

Credit: Cobb County

Credit: Cobb County

Northeast Cobb Community Center will include the library and a workforce development program.

The long-awaited transformation of the Gritters Library in north Marietta will soon begin.

The Cobb Commission recently approved the final, $9.8 million agreement for the rebuild to turn the library into a new Northeast Cobb Community Center, with a library and a workforce development center, a significant change from the original plan in 2021.

The county originally planned to rebuild and expand the now 50-year-old library through a 2016 special purpose local option sales tax project. But after the 2021 groundbreaking, construction was delayed because the funding was not enough.

“We didn’t anticipate at the time of the groundbreaking that labor and materials would be so expensive, so we never got off the ground,” county spokesman Ross Cavitt said.

In order to fully fund it, county officials modified the project to also include the Northeast Cobb Community Center, a previously approved 2022 SPLOST project, and Workforce Cobb is also contributing $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds approved by the board in its ARPA package in February.

Instead of a separate library and community center, the two will be together in one 14,000-square-foot building near Shaw Park.

The existing community center is “extremely rundown” and will be torn down, Cavitt said. Construction will take about 14 months and is expected to be completed in mid-2024.

Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who has been pushing to rebuild the library for years, said she’s excited to finally get the funding out the door.

“It will be a great asset for that area but all of Cobb as well,” Birrell said. “They will have a setup there for people to come in to job search and do resumes, and that will be for the whole community.”