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Off street parking for the Osceola Public Library is in the works

The Osceola Public Library has recently acquired the property directly across the street at 130 W. Cass St. and plans to tear down the buildings to build a parking lot for library patrons.

“We have already been working with the city, Ty Wheeler, city administrator, and the mayor to hopefully get a four-way stop at the intersection of Cass and Fillmore and provide pedestrian crosswalks,” said Aric Bishop, OPL director. “This will have to go through City Council at least three times to be approved. Tessa Hull, the OPL adult programming specialist, and myself have already started the process of applying for grants for the project and we need the bids to be reflected in those grants, which Ty has already started collecting on behalf of the library.”

With the house currently unoccupied, the owner reached out to the city asking if they were interested in acquiring the property.

“I advised the library board and/or library foundation may be interested because of their need for an off-street parking facility,” said Wheeler. “The matter was referred to the library board. They made an offer of $5,000 to the property owner, and it was accepted.  I worked with the city attorney to handle the transfer.” 

No city taxpayer money has gone into this project. The $5,007 used to purchase the property at 130 W. Cass St. was from benefactors from the OPL’s Pike Woods account. The library is applying for Pillars grants through the Clarke County Development Corporation. The project is up for bid currently and the cost of the project once the bids come in will determine any extra things that could possible be added.

Some things that the OPL would like to do depending on the cost of the bid and grant acceptance apart from the construction of the parking lot would be to add light fixtures, a plot for a community garden, space for a “blessing box” and a bus stop shelter for children who wait for the school bus.

“We are hoping for a quick process, but as with most things in the world, because of COVID-19, things contiue to face setbacks, but this is a desperately needed project for the entire community,” said Bishop.

Bishop sites various accidents as a main reason for the necessity of the parking lot construction. There have been several accidents involving the handicap stall on the southwest corner of the building with patron and library staff vehicles falling off the ledge of the drive. Bishop noted that the library has received several comments, concerns and complaints about parking throughout the years from patrons.

“The Library Board has discussed the concept of building a parking lot 18 times since 2000,” said Bishop. “I honestly feel it will help reduce the amount of accidents and complaints the library receives in terms of parking.”

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