ELYRIA — Voters have approved a plan to rebuild libraries in the Elyria and Keystone school districts.
After Tuesday’s affirmative vote at the polls, Elyria Public Library System officials will begin a construction project that will affect branches in Elyria and LaGrange.
Issue 39, a 0.9-mill levy, passed with 4,610 votes for the levy to 4,555 votes against the levy, or 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent, unofficially.
Library director Lyn Crouse said the campaign worked hard to get the message out about the need for a master building plan, and now that voters have agreed, the library board can work on the details.
“This is when the real work starts,” she said Tuesday. “We have to start community-input gathering, strategic planning and land acquisition. The first question was to go to the voters and say, ‘Do you want this?’”
The library levy will be in place for 30 years and generate $952,249 per year, which the library will use to pay off the bonds taken out to finance construction and improvements for four of the library’s five locations.
The West River Branch will see new heating and air conditioning and high-efficiency windows as well as a new design.
The Keystone-LaGrange Branch likely will triple in size from its 1,400 square feet. The plan is to build an expansion off the existing building.
The south side neighborhood would see a new community library, the first free-standing branch in the area. The South Branch operates out of the basement of Asbury United Methodist Church.
The largest project, however, will be replacing Central Branch on Washington Avenue, which also houses the library system’s administrative offices. The roughly 50-year-old building contains asbestos and in need of major renovations.
The plan will give neighborhoods across the city access to quality library facilities, although the library board doesn’t know exact locations yet.
Gerald Crum, president of the library’s Board of Trustees, said it was premature to starting looking at properties before the library had the money to rebuild.
“The levy passing means we will have the money to do a thorough search,” he said.
The library’s Bass Library at Lorain County Community College, which is a partnership between the college and library, does not need an upgrade. The library provides a book collection and programming, but the college maintains the building, Crouse said.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.