Realtor Bill Jakes, who lives just one block from the site of the old hospital on Highland Avenue in Murfreesboro, said he is reminded every day of the possibilities for the demolished site when he takes his evening walks around downtown.
He started an online group via Causes, a website that allows people to gather support for a project or goal that, in some cases, has built major momentum in bringing awareness to different global movements.
“I started this group at Causes.com because of a news special I saw,” Jakes said. “I created this thing hoping maybe it would show the city and the library there’s support for this thing.”
The group has gathered 186 supporters over the course of one week, which Jakes said he believes is good because he has not pushed the issue as of yet.
“I haven’t pushed it very hard, I’ve just organically let it spread,” he said.
After the hospital was moved to Medical Center Parkway in 2010, Jakes and some of his neighbors began tossing around ideas about what should go in that location, considering the building is a historic piece of Murfreesboro.
Jakes said he is interested in saving the building and believes it is a prime location for a library that is overcrowded.
“It’s well known that the library has outgrown its space,” Jakes said. “And the city’s growth will likely cause the city to need more space.”
He’s proposing that the city of Murfreesboro take over the space where the library currently resides because its offices are already located there, as part of his plan to preserve the old hospital site with the Linebaugh Library.
When asked if this is something he would present to the Murfreesboro City Council, Jakes said, “It’s something I intend to voice. I really believe it’s a feasible idea, and it’s a good idea.
Jakes also said there has been talk of moving the library to the Gateway area near Thompson Lane and Medical Center Parkway, but he said that is a ridiculous place to put the library.
“If the library has to move at some point, the old hospital should be the location,” Jakes said.
If the city were to move the library to the old hospital campus, it would have to purchase the building, which is situated on a 10-acre lot. But Jakes said he believes it would be quite an opportunity for the city of Murfreesboro.
“This is a rare opportunity,” he said. “This land, situated between downtown and MTSU, on 10 acres with good parking is rare and may never happen again. It’s a good opportunity for the city.”