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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.

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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 . 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 , 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.

Chelsea Allison August 04, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Being a business owner in Downtown Clearwater the harm is the fact that we would like Downtown Clearwater to become a place where people want to come and shop, eat and hang out. More businesses and restaurants are coming in to this area and it would be great if at night people didn't have to step around the guy sleeping on the side of the street. I do understand that people run into hard times but there are programs for people that really do want the help.
Cyntthia Johnson August 04, 2012 at 06:39 PM
this distresses me. Very much distresses me. I don't want to go to a library that looks like a prison from the outside. All of this to keep the homeless from seeking shelter in a rain storm? Or having some place to sit at night? I just do not understand. Why not prison guards at the front entrance while we're at it. If the city has this money in reserve? Why not use it FOR the homeless? Instead of a fence that will be an eye sore to patrons like myself. I'm so glad I have a tablet. Because I just lot the joy it used to give going to the library. I'll just download e-books instead.
Carole August 04, 2012 at 09:18 PM
In total agreeance with you Cynthia
Carole August 04, 2012 at 10:05 PM
GRACE and GARY... it matters not if i am liberal, conservative, left, right or whatever, Grace you have made an assumption that in my neighborhood there is no homeless people. My address will not be placed, so get over it.
Chelsea Allison August 06, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Clearwater Makes Sidewalk Sitting, Camping Illegal City leaders unanimously approved three rules targeting the homeless, making it illegal to sit on the sidewalk, camp overnight and increasing the penalty for soliciting to up to 60 days in jail at the City Council meeting Thursday. So if this is a long term solution, then why do we need this $127,000 gate (a short term solution)? I am all for beatification but we could maybe use that money and other money to bring in new business thus making downtown a less desirable place to be on the streets.

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