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No vacancy: Huntsville making plans for Shurney Center

HUNTSVILLE – The 11-acre campus of the Dr. Robert Shurney Legacy Center on Sparkman Drive has many amenities, including housing the North Huntsville Public Library.

The city is now in the studying phase of adding another resource to the vacant second floor of the facility through revitalization of the studio/makerspace. Plans focus on using that expanded space to introduce teens and young adults to the technology of music and for workforce development programs within the creative sector.

The project builds on popular music programs already offered at the library and aligns with the city’s objective to grow as a music city.

“We already have a little bit of that space downstairs in the library and there’s demand for more,” City Administrator John Hamilton said. “There was a desire to expand it in partnership with the City’s Music Office. What are the things we need to do to grow the local music industry? One of them is introducing people to recording and music production and performance.

“So, it’s a workforce development effort and that really starts fitting very closely with what the library already does as part of their mission.”

Councilman Devyn Keith, whose district includes the Shurney Legacy Center, said he is excited about the project’s potential.

“This is another promise kept to the community that we were looking at unique ways to integrate public spaces for public use,” Keith said. “We made a commitment to that site to be unique, for it to magnetize and give people from all over the city a reason to come to north Huntsville.”

This project seeks to partner with private industry, aiming to provide teens and young adults with a foundation in music that could jumpstart careers in the industry.

“I think you’ll see a good marriage between public education and private industry,” Hamilton said. “That’s what we want it to be. It would fill a void in access to exposure and learning some basic skills.”

Keith said the studio/makerspace will be another amenity that makes Huntsville special.

“This is a place where a mother or a father might introduce an instrument to their son or daughter,” Keith said. “It’s going to be something so unique that not many other cities have. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

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