Library seeks design ideas

The Market/Midlothian branch will be in the former Giant Eagle building.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Library officials want to get word out that what may look like an empty, nondescript building on the city's South Side will be home to a state-of-the-art library branch and what some library personnel call a "gateway to the city."
At Thursday's meeting of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, library director Carlton Sears said a draft of various floor plans has been drawn up with staff and community input for what will be the Market/Midlothian branch in the former Giant Eagle building at Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard.
The library system hired Ronald Cornell Faniro architects of Youngstown and Dan Meehan Architects of Cleveland to renovate the 15,574-square-foot building at an estimated cost of 4.5 million.
Sears said that besides state-of-the-art technology, the facility will have a Chapters Cafe, meeting rooms and an area for teenagers, among other things. The director added that he plans to meet with area teens to brainstorm for ideas regarding what they want that section of the library to look like.
Plans also call for reconfiguring the parking lot so that it's not used as a cut-through and adding green space to the area to make it more welcoming and accessible, Sears noted.
East branch
Meanwhile, floor plans are nearly complete for the 8,900-square-foot East branch near East High Avenue and Early Road on the city's East Side. This building is estimated to cost roughly 2.1 million, said Janet S. Loew, the library's public relations director. The 4M Company of Boardman was hired for the project, she added.
Library officials were unable to say when the two branches might open.
In other business, Treasurer Susan G. Merriman announced the system's 2007 general fund budget is about 14.4 million. That figure is about 2.7 million higher that 2005's budget largely because money has come in from the passage in November 2005 of a five-year, 1-mill operating levy, Merriman noted.

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