FOLEY – One of the first steps in building Foley’s new library will be relocating the health clinic now occupying the site.

The Foley City Council approved plans to build a new building for the Symbol Health Clinic on municipal property on East Rose Avenue. The clinic is now located east of the Foley Dog Park at the intersection of South Chicago Street and East Orange Avenue.

Foley will start construction in 2024 on a $20 million library to be built at the current clinic site.

City officials considered two sites on which to relocate the clinic. The alternative would have been to put the building near the former National Guard armory. 

“With the new library site, we’re gonna have to relocate Symbol,” Jeff Phillips, Foley construction manager, said. “We have two choices. We can go behind the armory or we can go to East Rose.”

The city acquired the former armory after the local National Guard unit moved to a new facility in 2023. 

The council voted to place the clinic on East Rose Avenue.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said putting the clinic on the East Rose Avenue parcel will allow other uses for Foley property near the armory, which the city plans to renovate to use for public recreation space and municipal offices. 

“We looked real closely at those two sites,” Hellmich said. “We don’t have a use for the property over there and it would keep our other property free and clear and maximizing that space. It just made sense to put it on this property.”

The city will tear down an unused house now on the site and construct a new modular building about 1,960 square feet in size.

“We looked at it. It would cost too much to restore and we looked and it does not have any historic value,” Hellmich said of the house now on the site.

Phillips said the city plans to keep most of the trees now on the site.

“We want to try to keep as many of those trees as we can,” he said. “We’re gonna try to incorporate the driveway through and keep most of the large magnolias and live oaks.”

He said most of the driveway will be gravel with a paved area for handicapped parking.

The current Symbol building will be demolished to clear the property for the start of construction of the new library. The library is scheduled for completion by the end of 2025. The new library will have almost 40,000 square feet of space, about twice the size of the current facility.