Thursday, February 25, 2010

a brief review of this Tuesday's Library Meeting.

Part of the Chicago Public Library's Facilities committee meeting on Tuesday was spent on the new Whitney Young Library.

i unfortunately got there late (about 11:30; meeting started at 11am), so i missed MaryEllen Drake of the Chatham Avalon Community Council. They are the only group, as far as i know, that showed up to the meeting.

the meeting was brief. I was only able to arrive at 11:30, during their closed door executive session. the commissioners then spoke with me briefly, and the meeting ended. I presented 3 questions/ideas:

1) temporary location (answer: typically, none are planned during those construction times)

2) Children's/Family room (answer: this will be built)

3) a smaller meeting room/ Community development room (i.e. an ongoing display of material, whether videos, books, etc. dedicated to Community Development; they said a temporary display might be set up)

They are still in the land acquisition phase.

Details such as space usage and design are not being discussed in detail at this time.

There are NO plans for a two story building. Preference has always been for a one story whenever possible. Alderman Lyle has mentioned the 1 story preference at one of her Ward Meetings (where she also mentioned that at the time, they were planning to do a 2 story building dues to issues with the laundromat land). So for those arguing over whether it will be 1 story or 2 story: both ideas were presented by officials to the public. You were both right at the time.

Costs, in addition to the construction itself, include upkeep and personnel. So, especially in this economy, that's what the deal is.

So, in my opinion, the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council blog either needs to create real community momentum, or stop posting fanciful ideas that just are not happening. It will NOT be the Bucktown model, but rather a new prototype not yet seen by the public.

However, preliminary plans do include space for young children as well as preteens and teens.

Some decisions will be made at the next meeting, which will take place again at the Harold Washington Library on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 10:30 am.

Also note, the April meeting is actually at the Whitney Young Branch, so that should be one all Chatham residents should attend if possible.

The meeting was friendly, and seemed very open for comment.

A suggestion: Mary Dempsey and the staff know what an asset Whitney Young is, so understand that they are on our side. We need to be patient, but also detailed with questions and concerns.

Sometimes our community meetings can get heated. Let's not bring that to a meeting that will benefit our community (even if we do not get a two story building!). We can move forward, but only if united.

And speaking of the new library property, look for a post tomorrow Saturday about Tropic chicken, which has just re-opened (as of last Wednesday) at 553 E. 79th Street.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for attending the meeting to get clarity on the questions that exist in the community. I met with Commissioner Dempsey and the Public Buildings Commission yesterday afternoon. As most know the City is pouchasing the properties east of the Library on 79th St. They have not however closed on all of the properties. Initially the plan was for a 1 story library (due to staffing and economic concerns as you stated). After the question of how to site the library arose, I was told that a 2 story would be required and I reported that to the community. Now there is a new prototype 1 story design that is being considered.

    Until the imminent domain (purchasing) process is completed with the associated environmental studies, we can't really determine which building will be built. However it has always been the preference of Commissioner Dempsey that a 1 story building be constructed because staffing at Libraries is being reduced due to the economy (which is the justification for the reduction in hours of service). When the process is complete the Commissioner will come back to the community with her recommendations and seek our input once again.

    The bottom line at this point is that our plans for a new Young Library have been delayed but not abandoned. Our construction time has been pushed back; the existing library will remain open as long as it can safely do so; there will be a period of time during which residents will have to use either, the soon to be completed Grand Crossing library (73rd & So. Chicago), Avalon or Woodson; community uses for the building have been taken into consideration. While I am disappointed that we are not in construction at this very moment, I am certain that once completed we will have a beautiful building that incorporates room for children, teens and community and revitalizes 79th & King Drive.


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