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Published: Wednesday, 5/12/2004

Toledo: Lagrange book lovers have reason to rejoice

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

There's not a lot of activity in the barren, grassy open lot at the corner of Manhattan Boulevard and Lagrange Street, but that will change in July as the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library begins to put one of its last new branch libraries there.

The proposal for the library building goes to the Toledo City Planning Commission at 3 p.m. today. Commissioners will be considering approval of the site plan for a special use permit. The permit will allow the library to build the 9,000-square-foot building.

Terry Glazer, executive director of the Lagrange Development Corp., said he will testify for the library today and does not expect opposition. Mr. Glazer said the library has worked closely with the community development corporation on the design and needs of the community for the structure.

The new Lagrange branch is one of the last branches to be constructed, costing $1.5 million. The facility, which will be brick with a clock tower, will replace the 3,700-square-foot library that is inside the Chester Zablocki Senior Center, eight blocks away from the planned site at 3015 Lagrange.

"We're really excited that we've reached this point," said Chris Kozak, spokesman for library officials. "We will have 19 new [or renovated] facilities. This is something that's really unprecedented in the history of our library system. The new library will almost triple the size of the space they are now using."

A new South branch library is under construction on Broadway Street. He said bids are out for a new library in Waterville. Mr. Kozak said the final branch in need of work - the Locke branch at 806 Main St. - will be considered after the Lagrange construction is off the ground.

Mr. Kozak said library officials are targeting ground breaking for the facility in July with the library opening its doors near

the end of the 2005.

Mr. Glazer said the library will provide an impressive gateway into the Lagrange neighborhood. He said the brick exterior and its location from the street will complement Lagrange's award-winning Streetscape design along Lagrange Street.

"It's going to be a wonderful addition to our neighborhood," Mr. Glazer said. "I have heard nothing but accolades about the concept design. Usually, in a neighborhood, everyone has their own opinions and you'll have at least a few dissenters, but everyone seems to be very pleased with it."

Mr. Glazer said inside, the library will be set up in a "book store" type design, making it user-friendly for the residents.

Olivia Holden, president of the Lagrange Development Corp., said even though the library will move out of the Zablocki building, seniors will find the new facility to have improved services and information for them.

Ms. Holden, executive director of ASSETS Toledo, Inc., said the library's proximity to Leverette Junior High School and Woodward High School will ensure that the facility will be a busy place.

"We wanted it to serve the needs of 3-year-olds to seniors and this library will do just that," she said. "This library will bring people into our neighborhood."

Contact Clyde Hughes at:

chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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