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Monday, December 29, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 7/23/2014

City considers land for library

New Mott branch may go on 3 acres of Smith Park

BLADE STAFF

The city of Toledo would turn over three acres of Smith Park in the central city to the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library for a new Mott Branch Library under legislation reviewed Tuesday by City Council.

Library officials said Mott, at 1085 Dorr St., is too small for the amount of use that it gets, and Smith Park — directly across the street — looks like the best location for a new branch.

The legislation, which is set for a vote on Tuesday, would authorize the mayor to donate a three-acre parcel adjacent to Martin Luther King, Jr., School at Dorr and Forest Avenue.

Mayor D. Michael Collins said that the old library would be given to the city, but he suggested that it be conveyed to the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, which now operates out of a strip shopping center at 1339 Dorr, for possible double use as a community center.

“We’re excited about this opportunity,” said Charles Oswanski, the library superintendent of facilities and operations.

He said the current site is too small to accommodate the additional parking and building space needed.

He said the library system considered options such as vacating Forest or buying property at Dorr and Detroit Avenue.

Mr. Oswanski said the library envisions at least a 50 percent increase in space beyond its current 10,300 square feet, and is hoping to have entrance from Dorr.

He said the design and cost have not been detailed, and said construction could happen in 2016 or 2017.

Jim Funk, manager of institutional initiatives for the library, said Mott, including its computers and meeting rooms, is one of the most heavily used, per capita, in the library system.

He said three public meetings were held and 25 people attended to discuss the future of the library.

Councilman Tyrone Riley, whose 1st Council District includes Smith Park, called it a “wonderful project.”

Councilman Rob Ludeman said it makes sense to put the library close to a school and a park to minimize the amount of street-crossing that children have to do.

Councilman Larry Sykes applauded the project, but wanted to know more details of whether the property would be sold or given to the credit union, and said a lending institution would not be the logical place for a community center.

The library was built in 1972 and renovated in 1997.



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