After an extended planning process, Bay Village is closer to getting a new library.
The city’s Planning Commission approved the final design for the new $7.5 million Bay Village branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library following a hearing Nov. 6. The city’s
Architectural Design Review Board will give the design a final review at 7:30 tonight.
With approval, construction could begin this winter.
“It’s been a long process getting this library built, relative to working with other cities,” said Tracy Strobel, the library system’s executive director. “It really just illustrates the passion and dedication that representatives of Bay Village have about their city.”
Strobel said she hopes the new library will accommodate the active community in Bay Village and meet its space needs.
Officials presented their design for the two-story, 15,773-square-foot building to the board and 10 audience members. They discussed the layout, which will feature three community rooms and an outdoor patio. However, due to budget issues, a proposed second-floor balcony was left out.
“It was a big selling point,” board member Jeffrey Foster said. “From the city’s perspective, it was an amenity. It’s really a unique feature that sings and would have differentiated us from other cities.”
Foster said that the library is working on raising private donations and cutting back on more expensive materials so the balcony can be put back into the design.
Public reaction to the new library plans has been largely positive. Councilwoman Lydia DeGeorge posted renderings on Facebook, which had attracted over 50 reactions from the community by Oct. 31.
“Being a designer/architect and having worked on public libraries I feel they’ve done a great job,” Facebook user Aimee Maiure wrote.
Still, some residents feel that the library could provide more.
“All that space and so few of what appear to be bookshelves?” John Paytosh wrote in response on Facebook.
The new building will be on the Bayway Cabin site on Wolf Road, just west of Bay Village City Hall and across from KeyBank. Demolition of the cabin, which houses the city’s Recreation Department, could begin this winter, Strobel said.
It is not clear where the city will move Recreation Department. The city also has no plans on what will become of the former library when the new one is established, said Building Director Eric Tuck-Macalla.
Library officials unveiled their first design proposal in March 2018. But those plans were scrapped after residents criticized the design for not matching the classical New England-type design style of many municipal buildings and homes. A new architect was hired, and those designs were posted on Facebook. Library officials held three focus groups to make sure they got the new design right, Foster said.
Officials submitted them in August to the planning commission. Now, with the public largely in favor of the new design, library and city officials are ready for the next phase.
“The library listened to comments, they listened to what the public said and they did listen to what public officials said,” Foster said. “I’m excited with the product. People here want public buildings to reflect Bay Village architecture. I think we’ve got a good compromise and I think we got a building that’s going to last us a long time.”
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