Shovel ready has become a popular phrase recently because of the federal government’s stimulus programs. In a few months, Shaker Library will be surrounded by “shovel ready” projects, including the long awaited work on the unfinished second floor area of the Main Library.
One imminent project is the renovation of the Lee-Van Aken RTA stop. The planning to make this location handicapped-accessible has been underway for a number of years. RTA will invest a few million dollars to add two elevators (one on the “library corner” of the intersection) and to widen the “platform” across Lee Road. Early this year, the eastbound stairway was closed and has been partially removed. Other enhancements will include small towers to add visibility to the station and vending machines to serve RTA customers.
The next big development near Main Library is the construction of Library Court Apartments on the northeast corner of Chagrin and Chelton. This facility, designed for low-income senior citizens, is being built by the Partnership for Income Restricted Housing Leadership (PIRHL), which is on the April 13 agenda to make a presentation to the Library Board. The Architectural Review Board and the Planning Commission have approved the design drawings for the 40-unit complex and permits are expected from the Building Department in a few weeks. Groundbreaking will take place in April or May with construction scheduled to begin in June. PIRHL will budget $3,000 toward library signage so library customers will be able to find their way to the Chagrin Boulevard entrance, which will be partially obstructed by their 3-story structure.
Shaker Library hopes to begin renovation of the unfinished section on the Main Library second floor late this summer. With approximately $800,000 remaining from bond issue funds approved by the community in 2004, architect, Duane Van Dyke, has created a series of designs, which we will implement in phases, to meet our organizational needs within budgetary restrictions. We will begin the process by connecting our air conditioning system to the unfinished section on the second floor. Other highlights include the creation of a new, larger Computer Center with an expanded and attached Training Lab that can be used by the public when classes are not in session. Eventually, most public computers for adults will be moved to that area and we will also gain much needed space for staff offices and public meeting rooms, including our increasingly popular Homework Center.
Self-service checkout is another key service we hope to implement. Future design phases will include moving the Movies & Music collection to a central location; relocating the nonfiction collection; expanding the Children’s area while consolidating the adult reference collection and Information Desk areas; and moving the Local History collection to the second floor to make room for an Internet Café with vending machines in what is now the Moreland Room.
Other “shovel ready” projects are dependent upon grant funding, including two that relate to community gardening. We have applied through the Ohio State Extension program to plant a small orchard on our property at Bertram Woods Branch. Another grant through the State Library of Ohio would allow us to partner with existing community gardening groups and to expand our collection and programs in related subjects, including food, health, the environment, and sustainability.
Our regular programs continue with entries being accepted for the annual Barbara Luton Art Competition this month. Artist, Ann Douglas, will jury this year’s competition and the Gallery-opening Reception and Awards Ceremony will be held from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 28. Our job-hunting series at Main Library continues with “Excelling at Interviewing” from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, March 10. Residents can learn more about our community at “Shaker History Works in Progress” from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 16 at Bertram Woods Branch when historian Marian Morton speaks about “Heathen Heights” and the history of area churches. Poetry Back in the Woods will feature poets, Kathleen Cerveny, Darlene Montonaro and Lou Suarez at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 23 at Bertram Woods Branch.