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The BUS Project: River Bend's newest infrastructure plan

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RIVER BEND, Craven County - Town council members met on Thursday to discuss infrastructure projects that have been in the works for awhile, including what is now being coined as "The BUS Project."

As the town of River Bend continues to grow and flourish, it's running out of space to do so -- creating headaches for some residents.

Hazel Campesi has lived in River Bend for 15 years. She has volunteered at the Red Caboose Library for almost as long.

"We have the latest books," Campesi said. "We have best sellers."

What wasn't the best, though, was the library's former location. They are now celebrating a grand opening in a new temporary location.

"The library was located in a building that was in fact a horse barn and is now falling apart and quite dangerous," Campesi said. "We had to relocate until other facilities can be found for us."

The move and decision to demolish the old barn is part of River Bend's multi-faceted building utilization strategy -- also known as "BUS."

"As our town has grown over the years, dating back to its original incorporation, we've just kind of outgrown our facilities," Town manager Delane Jackson said. "We are doing more now than we are doing then and we need more room to do those things."

The next steps of "BUS" that have not yet come to a vote include building a new community building that would permanently house the library and revamp the town hall. It will provide more dedicated spaces for activities.

"The meeting room in town hall covers actually 55 different clubs and activities in one month's time," Campesi said.

The renovation would also allow more separation between public activities and town business.

"If you're trying to conduct any kind of private business, there is no privacy," Campesi said. "The people have to stand in the hallway and talk about their water bill or their problems or whatever."

"BUS" will also cover modifications to the existing public works and police department building.

Some of the projects, like the multi-purpose community building, are still in the infancy stages. They will be voted on when there are more concrete plans.

The town manager expects town council members to vote on the plans for remodeling town hall in their next meeting.

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