Library to Shelve Mill Creek Park Branch

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio –The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County’s board of trustees was asked Thursday to consider building a new West Library on the site of the existing one.

A proposal to relocate the Mahoning Avenue branch to the warming house in the Mill Creek Park recreation area near the former skating rink does not appear to be feasible, Heidi Daniel, executive director of the library, told Trustees at their meeting.

More than a year ago, the library held community conversations and formed a task force to look at two options: moving the West Library into the park recreation area or renovating the Mahoning Avenue building. The consensus was that a library in the park was preferred but there have been significant changes since then.

“After meeting with the new MetroParks Director, we came to the conclusion that the project in the park’s warming house will not be feasible at this time,” Daniel said. “We determined that we want to continue partnering with each other on various projects. However, we felt that the timing and finances for the library-in-the-park project are not aligning.”

Daniel said she is exploring the option of demolishing the existing structure and building a new West Library on the site with a model of service that focuses heavily on technology and community space. The facility could also combine the Library’s newest on-the-go service, the Pop-Up Library, along with the anticipated vehicles and staff needed to expand this outreach service, Daniel said.

“This is only a concept at this time and I need time to explore the feasibility and cost, as well as gather community input,” she told trustees.

Daniel stressed the importance of the library maintaining a presence on the West Side.

“It has the highest population in the city and sits in a location that has transitional and stable elements, which the library could meld. We have an opportunity to look at serving that community in a real way with a brand new service model,” she continued. “The Mahoning Avenue location is close to the Main and Austintown libraries, so we would be looking at something smaller than either of those, but we want to create something very special that would be a draw and serve the area.”

Pictured: Oe of the library’s “pop-up” library installations.

SOURCE: Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County.

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