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Central Branch Library progressing

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    Demolition continues on buldings near the intersection of Broad St. and East Ave. for the new central branch Elyria Public Library April 3.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Construction crews work on demolishing a building near of the intersection of Broad Street and East Avenue, in Elyria on Tuesday, April 2. After construction is complete, the area will be home to the new central branch of the Elyria Public Library system at Pioneer Plaza.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Construction crews work on demolishing a building near of the intersection of Broad Street and East Avenue, in Elyria on Tuesday, April 2. After construction is complete, the area will be home to the new central branch of the Elyria Public Library system at Pioneer Plaza.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Plans for the Elyria Public Library’s new Central Branch progressed this week, with demolition of old buildings on its future site downtown accompanying the announcement of $75,000 in donations to the Central and South branches from the Elyria Rotary Club.

Rotarians have promised $75,000 over the next three years for the naming rights to the main meeting room at the Central Branch library, which will be known as the Elyria Rotary Club Community Room.

Elyria Rotary Club President Mary Siwierka said Thursday her group met earlier this year and “wanted to do something for the library project.” As one of the first donors to the project, the Elyria Rotary Club had a range of choices about how its money would be spent, she said.

The Elyria Rotary Club has been “a big supporter of the library for years,” said Siwierka, who served on the Library Board of Trustees for about 10 years from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, she said. Literacy and education, Siwierka added, are “a big component of Rotary’s commitment to community.”

“That’s in our DNA,” she said.

The donation will be split to help out both the library’s Central and South branches.

Siwierka said $5,000 out of the $75,000 promised will help purchase additional computers and improve the play area at the South Branch Library. Currently housed in the Asbury United Methodist Church at 1611 Middle Ave., the South Branch soon will move to 340 15th St., the former home of a Smith Dairy, after purchasing that property last summer.

Another $10,000 of the donation will go to the new children’s room at the Central Branch, Siwierka said. A place also will be found there to house Rotary archives and display Rotary materials and history, she said.

Library Director Lyn Crouse on Thursday thanked the Rotary Club “for its generous donation to the Library’s building project.”

“This is a prime example of a service organization working to create lasting change in the community,” she said. “The new downtown and South branches will change the face of the city and improve the lives of its residents for years to come.”

The estimated cost of the new downtown branch is $8 million. It is expected to open in late 2020.

This week, crews were demolishing several old buildings at the block bordered by East Avenue and Broad Street, including several purchased by the library from Lorain County Printing and Publishing Co., the parent company of The Chronicle-Telegram.

Piles of brick and other debris remained on the site Thursday. Siwierka, who also is Elyria’s safety service director, said demolition of the buildings at 314 and 322 Broad St. will be more complicated and take longer than the few days it took for those buildings on East Avenue.

The promise of a new library “is exciting for downtown,” Siwierka said, even as the Elyria Rotary Club adds new members and gives out its annual scholarships to deserving students.

New members always are welcome, she said, encouraging anyone with interest to visit elyriarotary.org.

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.


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