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Elyria Public Library System buys land for new main branch

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ELYRIA — The Elyria Public Library System has all the property pieces in place for its upcoming building project, its governing board learned Monday.

All 12 parcels on 1.25 acres in downtown Elyria, the future home of the library’s Central Branch, belong to the library system for demolition, rehabilitation and construction purposes, Library Director Lyn Crouse told the library Board of Trustees at its monthly meeting.

“We have closed on those and they are now in our possession,” she said.

The city of Elyria’s Community Improvement Corporation guaranteed $350,000 toward the purchase of the property for the new Central Branch, replacing the aging facility on Washington Avenue.

The new central branch, which should be completed by the end of 2020, is expected to cost more than $1 million. It is being funded by the November 2017 passage of a bond issue providing $950,000 a year for the next 30 years to purchase property and pay off construction bonds.

The cost of purchasing the property will be split, with the library contributing $600,000 and the CIC another $327,620 toward the total price tag of $927,620.

The owners of the 12 parcels making up the acquisition include Lorain County Printing and Publishing Co., the parent company of The Chronicle-Telegram (five parcels); Melinda Rogers and ZSR Enterprise and the Chlepchiak Family LTD (two parcels each); the Lorain County Land Reutilization Corp., Danny J. Pruchinsky and Steve Vaszi (one parcel each).

The buildings affected include 115, 119 and 121 East Ave. and 312-322 Broad St. The businesses in the affected buildings, including Mindy’s Salon and Progressive JC Insurance Agency, will be relocated with help from the city, Mayor Holly Brinda has said.

Another $30,000 to $50,000 in closing costs will be contributed by the CIC, which, with the help of a Community Development Block Grant, will pay for demolition and a property consolidation survey, the costs of which are yet to be determined. The city also will pay the cost of environmental assessments on the property with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Grant totaling approximately $60,000.

Crouse said Rotary Club of Elyria also has pledged $75,000 to the library, which has received another $50,000 pledge from the Friends of the Elyria Public Library and $5,000 from Library Board President Gerald Crum and his wife, Sheila.

Demolition of the existing buildings in the block bordered by Broad and Second streets and East Avenue is expected to start in January, Crouse said. Library officials met last week with the project management team the city has put together, including former Elyria City Engineer Tim Ujvari, who has come back to serve as project manager.

Ujvari has been “cooperative and helpful in the past,” Crouse said. “We need to work closely with (city officials) to make this happen.”

She said roof repair work remains to be done on the future home of the library’s south branch, a former Smith Dairy building on 15th Street purchased earlier this year.

The library has budgeted money to get the building “zipped up and watertight” before winter, Crouse said. Its temporary location remains the Asbury United Methodist Church at 1611 Middle Ave.

The library also is preparing to close on property on Taylor Street for its new mixed-use office and warehouse space where storage, purchasing, IT and other administrative services will move. A design and floor plan will be submitted later this month, Crouse said.

Meanwhile, soil borings were completed Friday at the future location of the Keystone-LaGrange Branch Library, 133 Commerce Drive East in LaGrange. Closing on that $375,000 purchase will be “a great relief, because that means all sites are selected and ready to roll,” Crouse said.

In other business, the board:

  • Learned that outdoor reserved materials lockers soon will be installed at the West River branch. Crouse said the lockers will be accessible 24/7, and a place where librarians can put reserved material to be accessed by library card holders.
    Patrons who put materials on hold can specify whether they are put in the lockers or kept indoors, Crouse said. If the trial program is successful, the library may continue it at the new branches, she said.
  • Reappointed Ray Armstrong Jr. as a member of the nine-person library board of trustees.
Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.


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