Barbara Pickell was told to come back and do it better.
In April, the director of Clearwater’s Public Library System sought approval from city leaders for renderings of a seven-foot-tall, black, wrought iron-style fence with a gate to surround the Main Library.
They soundly rejected it, offering to pay more money for something that looked nicer.
And they got it this week.
The roofline and features the words “Clearwater Public Library.”
Pickell said the latest design is more in line with the spirit of the building's design.
“All in all, we feel this would really enhance the library,” Pickell said to the City Council at its work session meeting Monday.
The latest design could cost more than $188,000, which is more than double the $72,000 originally estimated for the project. City leaders will discuss the project at their meeting Thursday.
The , officials have said. Artistic elements, either a decorative planter, mosaic art or other type of sculpture would also be part of the entrance enhancements.
The costs include more than $50,000 to replace the concrete slabs outside with paver stones similar to ones used for sidewalks on Cleveland Street.
The plan to enhance the courtyard with art and a fence would also keep the homeless from sleeping in front of the building when it is closed. A similar style fence would be added around the west terrace and pump house building as well.
Officials told members of the Public Arts and Advisory Board that the words “Clearwater Public Library” would have to be replaced under the city’s stringent sign code. However, Pickell said to councilmembers Monday that those words would not be a violation.
Councilmember Jay Polglaze approved of the changes in the latest design.
“I like the fencing, if it is going to be this color and style, I’m ok with it. I don’t need to see another vision,” Polglaze said. “I think it needs to be expedited considering everything the city is undertaking right now.”
Polglaze referred to the steps Dr. Robert Marbut outlined for the city regarding its homeless population. The city response .
The current building was designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern. He has not been consulted on designs because of costs for his services.
Councilmember Bill Jonson said he still wants Pickell to consult with Stern or a partner from the architecture firm who sent the city a letter of opposition to the plan.
“We spent a lot of money with Robert Stern and I really would like to get some suggestions from him before we go off on some direction that is inconsistent with that design,” Jonson said.
Pickell said that while the architecture firm is not fond of the idea of the fence and gate, library groups including its foundation and the Public Arts and Advisory Board approved the design.
“I’d like to have at least run by his partner,” Jonson said. “I don’t want to make the library a stockade or walled-off from the community.”
Alexander P. Lamis, a partner with Robert A. M. Stern Architects, wrote to the council about the plan July 25:
“We invested a great deal of effort to make the Public Library a building that would be an object of civic pride for the people of Clearwater, and we are disappointed that we were not given the courtesy of being informed that a major change was being considered at the front door of the building," Lamis wrote. “The proposed fence significantly detracts from the Library design, creating a cage-like appearance for what was and should be an open and welcoming entrance.”
If you go:
What: City Council meeting
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: , 112 S Osceola Ave