Library officials have given voters another reason to vote for or against a proposed $9 million Avon branch addition on the March 17 ballot.
With the campaign underway for Issue 12, officials from the Lorain Public Library System unveiled the proposed design for the Avon expansion project during City Council’s work session on Feb. 3.
The exterior shows two barn-like structures with the facade a mixture of stone and siding topped by metal shingle roofs with ground-to-roof windows at each end to provide lots of natural lighting. The two buildings have vaulted ceilings that are connected by smaller rooms.
The plan calls for adding on to the existing building at 37485 Harvest Drive with a one-story addition using land owned by the library. The expansion would increase the library from 10,500 square feet to 25,000 square feet, double the study areas and enhance the interactive arts and play areas.
Plans include a meeting room that could hold 100 people plus additional parking, a drive-up window and a café, said Aaron Hill, principal architect of Bialosky Cleveland, the firm designing the new library. Hill presented the plans along with Anastasia Diamond-Ortiz, director of the Lorain Public Library System.
“We want to get the community excited about what the new library will be,” Hill said. “The design is just the beginning of a long process we will go through, but we really want to spark the imagination to the fact that this is not just a larger version of what is there now, but something that will truly be reimagined.”
The library is in the city’s French Creek Historic District, and any addition must conform to building guidelines for the district.
The library system and its 27-member Community Facilities Committee had reviewed information about what people wanted in a new library over the past year. There also were 465 online surveys completed by Avon residents, Hill said.
“Books are the most important thing the people said they would like to see in the survey we conducted,” he said.
City Council unanimously voted in October to place the 2-mill, 20-year additional tax levy on the ballot. If approved, the levy would generate $1.9 million a year, and cost homeowners $70 a year per $100,000 valuation of a home, according to the Lorain County Auditor’s Office.
The existing 1.2-mill, five-year library tax levy generates $481,000 a year and costs homeowners about $37 per $100,000 home valuation. That levy expires next year, and the 2-mill levy would replace it.
The library system would not ask the city for more money during the levy’s 20 years, Diamond-Ortiz said.
The $9 million would cover new construction and new items that would be included in the renovation.
Diamond-Ortiz said the library system has already spent more than $100,000 on researching and developing the levy. That included payments to architects and Triad Research Group, which conducted a telephone survey of Avon residents about their interest in a library expansion.
“It’s an impressive building,” said Councilwoman Tammy Holzmeier. “It’s something we can be proud of.”
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