Greener Library Gate is a Go
City leaders unanimously approved spending more than $127,000 to pay for a fence and gate for the Main Library at a City Council meeting Thursday.
City leaders unanimously approved spending more than $127,000 for courtyard enhancements including adding a green, seven-foot tall, wrought-iron style fence and gate around the entrance of the Main Library. Atop the fence is an arch that parallels the building’s signature roof-line.
A similar styled fence would be added around the west terrace and pump house. The work could be complete within three months, said Barbara Pickell, director of the Clearwater Public Library System.
“The fence part should move fairly quickly,” she said.
The plan to enhance the courtyard area would create an appealing vision for patrons entering the library, officials have said. It would also keep the homeless from sleeping in front of the building when it is closed.
The cost, initially pegged at $72,000, ballooned to $188,000. However, leaders voted to remove nearly $50,000 for pavers around the front entrance similar to the kind on Cleveland Street. They also reduced the cost of the project by removing the somewhat controversial words “Clearwater Public Library” which cost about $11,000.
Artistic elements, either a decorative planter, mosaic art or other type of sculpture would also be part of the entrance enhancements. The city Public Arts and Advisory Board will decide the type of art element, Pickell said.
The plan was supported by Library groups, including its foundation and an important critic, Alex P. Lamis, a partner at the firm of Robert A. M. Stern, the architect who designed the building.
Lamis initially opposed the design in a letter sent to the city in July. However, a week later Lamis sent another letter:
Thank you for sending along additional renderings and information regarding the proposed gate and fence at the Library entrance. The most recent version seems to be a reasonable solution—one that is in keeping with the overall Library design. We wish you the best for this project.