ELYRIA — A former Smith Dairy location on the city’s south side will be the site of a new library.
The Elyria Public Library System announced Thursday that it acquired the property at 340 15th St. for its new South Branch library. The purchase price was $128,000. The property was sold by Jad Bedran, a Westlake businessman.
The property is two blocks south of where Elyria Schools plans to build a new elementary school and a short walk from the library’s temporary branch in the basement of Asbury United Methodist Church, 1611 Middle Ave.
The location is accessible from both Middle and West avenues.
According to the library’s announcement, the land will allow for a library building, ample parking and green space. However, it is not known at this time if the building, an old brick structure that has sat vacant for several years, is useable for the actual library.
The library’s architects and engineers will study whether any of the existing building can be renovated or whether it must be demolished and replaced.
“Either way, the neighborhood will be improved by the transformation of the blighted structure,” said Library Director Lyn Crouse.
Elyria Councilman Marcus Madison, D-5th Ward, said he is happy the library will remain in his neighborhood as residents regularly use the library at the church and at its previous location in the former Hamilton School.
“It’s exciting to see this location redeveloped to serve children and families in the 5th Ward,” he said. “The new home of the Elyria Public Library South Branch will be another staple of hope and investment in the neighborhood.”
When the Asbury branch opened last August, Crouse said that the library board was committed to serving the area as many patrons walk or bike to the library because of lack of other transportation.
“Closing the doors and asking them to get to the (Washington Avenue) or West River North branches was just not an option,” she said then.
The city helped the library acquire the land by allocating a portion of a federal grant to help finance environmental testing at the site.
“The city of Elyria is happy to partner with the Elyria Public Library System in their rebuilding efforts,” said Mayor Holly Brinda. “We were happy to use funds from our U.S. EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant to fund the Phase I & II Environmental Studies for the south side library annex, which saved the library over $27,000. We look forward to our ongoing collaborative relationship with the library rebuilding project.”
What the library will look like is yet to be seen. The library system previously held a series of community conversations and did surveys to get residents’ input, and schematic design is underway on the new building.
Residents can participate in the new projects.
The library’s new policy allows for naming rights opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses who wish to contribute to the building project.
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