YOUNGSTOWN (July 30, 2012 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) – Many area residents turned out today to support the Library today as ground was broken to mark the launch of construction on the Jackson-Milton Library, a branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. The new 6,650-square-foot branch library is being built on Mahoning Avenue near the Jackson-Milton High School/Middle School complex.
Construction on the $1.712 million project is expected to take about 8-9 months. Barring delays, it is hoped that the new branch will open in March or April of 2013.
Library Director Heidi M. Daniel addressed the group:
“Since I have taken the position of Director, one of the things I am commonly asked is why I chose Mahoning County. The answer is that I want to be part of a library that is an integral component of making the community strong. I think the new Jackson-Milton library’s history demonstrates that principal. The community, the library, and the school board all came together to identify a need and discuss what their aspirations were for a library in this community.
“And then, in 2009, due the decline of funding, all groups had to wait until the project was financially viable again. We were happy to be able to return to the project after passage of two levies, and the Library, the board, and I thank you for the passage of those levies in 2009 and 2010.
“I am so pleased that the Jackson-Milton School Board has been very involved in the project, and without their donation of land, we would not be here today. I want to thank the Board of Education and School Superintendent and officials for their support and assistance. I am sure our partnership will continue to develop and be beneficial for all of us.
“I would be remiss if I did not thank area residents for their time given in meetings where they shared their aspirations for their community and what they wanted in their local library. After the first showing of a library design in 2011, the Library heard requests from the community to consider modifications to the building’s exterior. The Library listened, considered what modifications might be acceptable to the Library Board, and made adjustments to the exterior design. We now have a design that both the community and the Library are pleased with. It is this type of working together towards the common goal that gives us strength, and I hope that this new library building becomes filled with the activities, resources, and dreams of the residents who use it.
“Support of the community has been gratifying. I am certain they will continue to show their support through generosity in a fundraising campaign for their new library, and in turn, the library will continue to listen and respond to the hopes and wants of the area.”
Carlton A. Sears was at the event and noted his satisfaction at seeing construction begin on a project which he nurtured and planned for several years during his tenure as Library Director. He was pleased to have passed the project on to the Library’s new director, Ms. Daniel.
Former Library Director Carlton A. Sears said:
“The work we do today in breaking ground for a new library is building upon the work of those that came before us. At the same time, it is laying a foundation for those that will come after us.
“This new library is a merger between our North Jackson and our Lake Milton/Craig Beach libraries. Both of these branches have been important to this portion of the county for many years. Both resulted from efforts by dedicated area residents. Today we build further upon the good work they started many years ago by bringing a new facility that will be able to provide more and better services to this area of the county.
“I want to thank all of you for the patience you have demonstrated in working with us to come to this day and I look forward to coming back in a few months to experience the new library with you.
“History demonstrates that a new library in a community in Mahoning County is something that only comes along once in a lifetime. They become centers of community life that last decades. I encourage you to embrace and take advantage of the opportunity to be a part of this project and, like those that came before us, help lay the foundation for the future.”
Thomas Frost, Library Trustee and North Jackson resident and Trustee, spoke about the importance of the project in this area of the county. He affirmed the Library Board’s commitment to providing only the best in library service to Mahoning County’s residents.
School Superintendent Kirk Baker spoke to the crowd and thanked the Library for moving forward with this project.
The Trustee’s Building and Sites Committee, chaired by Alex Benyo, is overseeing the project. Members are: Thomas Frost, Richard Atkinson, Kathryn Bennett, and Timothy Bresnahan.
Project architect is Ronald Cornell Faniro. Contracts were awarded to the following bidders by the Trustee Building and Sites Committee, empowered by the full Library Board: DSV Builders, Inc., of Niles, OH (general trades); Ellyson Plumbing and Heating of Salem, OH (plumbing); D & G Mechanical, Inc., of West Middlesex, PA (mechanical); Zenith Systems, Inc., of Bedford Heights, OH (electrical).
Library spokesperson Janet S. Loew notes:
When the Library 2011 Strategic Plan was created over eight years ago, the fate of the current North Jackson branch library was uncertain. Concerned community members and school officials approached the Library and asked officials to consider putting a new branch on the site of a then-proposed high school/middle school complex, which was in planning stages. After much discussion and study, Library Trustees decided that a merger of the North Jackson and Lake Milton branches would provide an opportunity for that portion of the county to have a newer branch with more computers, space and features. The Board also realized that merging two smaller libraries would be more efficient and save money. The decision was made to merge the branches.
The Library began working with the community on a building in the Jackson-Milton area prior to the decline of the economy, but the project unfortunately had to be put on hold in 2009 due to the economic downturn and uncertainty of library funding. We were happy to be able to return to the project after passage of two levies (2009 and 2010).
The Jackson-Milton Board of Education has been very instrumental in this library project, donating land for the new branch on property adjacent to the new Jackson-Milton High School/Middle School. The Library Board is most appreciative of the help of the Board of Education, School Superintendent and school officials.
The Library extended an invitation to area residents to be a part of the process as planning for this new library branch got underway. Meetings were held to engage residents in conversation to learn their aspirations for their community and to get a feel for what they wanted in their local library. Plans were shared with the community and residents gave input.
In addition to this construction project, the community will be given an opportunity to show their support with contributions for their new branch. A fundraising campaign with a goal of $250,000 is underway. Development Director Deborah Liptak talked with participants about the new campaign.