MONROE (WWJ/AP) – Officials in Monroe are considering buying and renovating a former Masonic Temple property to open a new library downtown.

The city council has unanimously approved a purchase option for the property, located on North Monroe Street along the River Raisin, the Monroe News reported.

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The next step is to hire a firm to conduct an architectural analysis of the building. The council could choose to buy the building for $515,000 by the end of May.

The city would pay for the purchase and renovations through loans and its general fund, as well as with grants and private donations.

Officials say the new library won’t replace the Navarre branch or Dorsch Memorial library, which had been considered for expansion.

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However, City Manager George Brown told the council an expansion of the Dorsch Memorial branch would have been too expensive, at around $2 million. He said the Masonic Temple, which has roughly is 16,000 square feet over three floors, is a better option based on cost and space.

Potential plans for the new library include space for a café, reading rooms and a Mason’s meeting room that could be used as a theater or community space.

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