Learn More About Our Outdoor Renovation Project at Tomorrow’s Library Board Meeting

Big and exciting developments are on their way to the library! A few weeks ago, we began sharing some of our plans for our landscaping project, a state-funded outdoor renovation project that will drastically increase safety and improve our outdoor community spaces.

Tomorrow’s Board meeting will largely focus on sharing and discussing these plans, including approving its budget. We welcome everyone from the public to attend it! It will be Wednesday, March 15, 2023 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm in our library’s meeting room.

We know it’s a big project, so you probably have some questions about our outdoor renovation, and we’d love to answer them. Keep reading to learn more about the Board meeting and our landscaping project plans.

To answer some of your basic questions, we created a webpage dedicated to our landscaping project that you can always check out here: https://reedlibrary.org/renovate.

Some of your questions may be answered in this blog post, but we also highly encourage you to attend our library Board meeting tomorrow.

Why attend tomorrow’s Library Board meeting?

Our Board of Trustees meetings are always open to the public, but tomorrow’s will be especially important. Our Board will be voting on the Building and Grounds Committee’s budget proposal of $1.3 million for the landscaping project. If approved, the next step will be to go to bid for contractors. The Board will also make a decision on whether to purchase Dr. Miller’s building next door, which he proposed to us.

We have also specifically invited many community groups to this meeting, such as City of Ravenna Council, the Mayor, the Friends of the Library, the Library Foundation, Beta Sorosis, and the Ravenna United Fund, in addition to all of our patrons (including you!) via social media. We are hoping to have a productive turnout of community members.

At our meeting, we will share and discuss our landscaping designs. If you have any questions or opinions about this project, you won’t want to miss tomorrow’s meeting at 5:00 pm!

A Little Bit About Our Landscaping Project

What’s happening with the front of the library?

A small part of our renovation plans involve improving the front of the library by opening up our yard and creating expanded walkways and improved streetscape that will better connect us to downtown Ravenna. This would slow street traffic, increasing safety, and create more outdoor seating areas. To accomplish this, we will need to remove the ten street parking spaces, which are only used a rare 1.3% of our open hours. Because this use is so rare, we are confident that our plans would be a better use for this valuable space.

“We want to bring young families into Ravenna,” says Library Director, Amy Young. “Creating family-friendly spaces would not only accomplish that but also enhance downtown’s green spaces. We sit on the east end of Main Street welcoming people downtown. We’re one of the first impressions outsiders get of our city.” 

This design demonstrates the changes we would like to improve the front:

Last May, we approached the City of Ravenna Council to see how they would feel about vacating the ten parking spots in front of the library. Earlier this year, we revisited this topic with them, but City Council is no longer interested in discussing this possibility with us. Their decision was made after listening to a few patrons’ concerns, and we have not been able to continue this conversation with them.

The project will move forward regardless of City Council’s decision, but if we are unable to clear space at the front of the library, we will have to change our design plans. We were really excited about the possibility of increased community space out front, including a small patio and plenty of room to sit, drink some coffee, and read a book. We hope that we will still be able to move forward with this vision, but now we will need community support.

If you would like to learn more about what vacating the front parking spots would enable us to do with our property, make sure to attend our Board meeting tomorrow.

If you are in support of this project, we encourage you to speak up and make your voice heard by writing to City Council and expressing your opinions on this.

What will most of the landscaping project entail?

Our plans for the front of the library are only a small part of our bigger plans. Most of the project will focus on overhauling the library’s rear parking lot and improving outdoor community spaces. Our biggest priority is improving safety in the rear parking lot. We will be reworking the parking lot so that it is safer for children, those with mobility issues, and all patrons.

This design shows how the flow of the parking lot will change to motivate drivers to slow down and be more aware of pedestrians:

The new design also includes ample outdoor space and a covered outdoor structure for library programming. We intend to utilize this shelter for outdoor storytimes, yoga sessions, live music, and much more!

This design demonstrates how we will utilize the new outdoor space, including a wide sidewalk:

In all our designs, we are aiming to preserve the historic look of the library and align our appearance with downtown Ravenna.

Where is the landscaping funding coming from?

The landscaping project will be funded by Ohio’s Public Library Funds and annual capital improvement funds automatically provided by the state, which we must use. Every year, all Ohio public libraries receive 1.7% of state revenues, and because this amount has increased over the past couple years, there is more to use than previously budgeted. We are excited to reinvest this money into improving the building and its grounds for the benefit of our community!

When will the landscaping project begin?

We will begin construction on the back parking lot this spring and conclude by the fall of 2023, but we are unable to provide any definitive timelines until we secure a contractor.

Throughout the construction process, we will make sure to update you via social media to ensure your maximum convenience. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check our website for all the latest information.

We really hope to see you at the Board meeting tomorrow, March 15 at 5:00 pm! If you can’t make it, make sure you’re following us on social media for continued updates on all the latest construction information.

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