After being delayed by the pandemic, work will soon start on the $7.5 million public library in Cahoon Park.
Cuyahoga County Public Library officials have resumed their plans for the library on Wolf Road near City Hall. Construction is expected to begin in the spring, said library Communications and External Relations Director Hallie Rich.
“We are moving forward with the Bay Village Branch project,” she said. “It’s been several years of false starts and we are very excited to finally get the ball rolling on it.”
Library officials are rebidding the construction project. Bids will be reviewed and approved in February and construction is set to begin soon after, according to information provided by the CCPL.
The library will be built where the city’s Bayway Youth Cabin currently sits. While the project is being bid, library maintenance crews will remove asbestos from the structure. Once that is done, the building will be demolished next month.
There have not been any changes to plans for the 15,773-square-foot library, which will include a second-floor greenspace and three community rooms. However, the delay has increased the cost of materials for the project.
The project is being funded by a 1-mill continuing levy voters approved on Nov. 3. The levy will generate approximately $18 million annually for the library system. The money raised goes to general operating costs of each library. It increased the existing 2.5-mill levy to 3.5 mills and will cost homeowners an additional $3 per month in property taxes per $100,000 of home value.
“Having Issue 70 pass really stabilized our finances and allowed us to continue most of our major projects, including this one,” Rich said. “Without it, we would have had to postpone the project further.”
In December, the CCPL’s board approved continuing the project and soon opened bidding for it.
CCPL had to reduce its operating budget this year by $5 million due to the pandemic’s impact on the state budget. Projects such as roof repairs and HVAC replacement are on hold until next year until more money is secured, according to information provided by the library.
To offset the loss, the library system laid off or furloughed 300 employees throughout the county and those remaining took a 50% cut in their hours. However, more employees have been returning to work since the summer, Rich said.
Despite the setbacks, Mayor Paul Koomar is excited that work will finally begin on the highly anticipated library.
“We’re looking forward to making the library a reality,” he said. “It’ll be a gathering place and the heart of our commercial district. I think it’s going to be a facility enjoyed by many residents.”
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