CCPL takes ‘step back’ from new Bay branch

In an email to Bay Village residents, the Cuyahoga County Public Library announced today that its board of trustees has decided to pause the process of moving forward with a new branch building. Sari Feldman, executive director, said the decision came in response to an outpouring of comments from residents that were unhappy with the building design that was presented to City Council on March 19.

Feldman stated that “the Bay Village branch will remain a priority in the library’s capital improvement pipeline,” but for now the focus will shift to making repairs to the current building, including a new HVAC system, carpet and parking lot.

The full text of Feldman’s email follows:

Dear Resident,

We want to provide an update on the Bay Village Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL/the Library). A little more than a year ago, the Mayor and members of City Council, in their role as Cahoon Park Trustees, offered the Library the opportunity to build a new branch on the site of the Bayway Cabin, pending probate court approval.
 
With the offer of a parcel in a location that better connects the Library to other civic assets in Bay Village, our Board of Trustees agreed to invest $7.5 million in a new building project. CCPL has completed nine new buildings over the past six years, and our process for engaging the community successfully brought forward branch buildings that are widely embraced. We followed the same open process in Bay Village to gather input, shape a concept and develop a design in partnership with the City.

In June 2017, Library staff conducted two open community dialogue sessions, where residents and City representatives had the opportunity to provide input on aspects of building design and library service needs. The Library also participated in the City’s master planning process and worked to incorporate the overall objectives of the master plan into a building design.

Throughout the course of the project, the Library worked to understand the needs and goals of the community and, in particular, the special significance that the Cahoon Park property has for many Bay Village residents. After two rounds of design with active input from City officials, we arrived at a building rendering that we believed reflected the voice of the community and included aspects of design that the Library requires for both the safety and operational efficiency of our buildings. That design was presented at a public meeting on March 19, 2018.
 
Since then, the feedback we have received directly from residents makes it clear that we cannot proceed with the proposed design because there is not consensus that it is the right approach for many in the Bay Village community. The Library remains committed to creating an environment that will facilitate more of the library services that the community says it wants but cannot achieve in the current building: a dedicated space for teens/tweens after school; quiet study rooms for tutoring or home-based businesses; an enhanced children's area that will delight and inspire readers; and, better space for community programs, including more visits from best-selling authors. Therefore, The Board of Trustees has decided to take a step back from the project at this point and reengage the community regarding the potential design and location of a capital project in Bay Village in the future. Our ultimate goal is to develop a library space that residents embrace and enjoy.

We recognize that there are voices we did not hear in our initial round of community input, and we need to ensure we have an inclusive representation of perspectives as we move forward. The Library remains committed to creating an environment that will facilitate more of the library services that the community says it wants but cannot achieve in the current building: a dedicated space for teens/tweens after school; quiet study rooms for tutoring or home-based businesses; an enhanced children's area that will delight and inspire readers; and, better space for community programs, including more visits from best-selling authors.
 
In the meantime, we will focus on investing in necessary repairs to the current branch building, including a new HVAC system, carpet and parking lot. Residents can be assured that the Bay Village branch will remain a priority in the Library’s capital improvement pipeline. We commit to keeping residents apprised as the Library develops a future timeline for revisiting a Bay Village Branch project.

Sincerely,
Sari Feldman
Executive Director
Cuyahoga County Public Library

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 11:18 AM, 04.25.2018