Sawyer Free Library Announces Work to Begin on Landscaping Project and Parking Lot
Continuing its ongoing efforts to better serve community needs and desires, the Sawyer Free Library expects to break ground before the end of April for a major landscaping project accompanied by a new, paved parking lot for patrons and library staff.
The project features a new entry gate, an amphitheater-like setting and extensive plantings, including trees and shrubs, in the spaces along both Dale Avenue and the adjacent Central Grammar Apartments. The master plan was designed by Hilarie Holdsworth of Walker Creek Design of Gloucester.
Also, a handicapped-access ramp now leading off Dale Avenue will be rebuilt to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The current ramp is deteriorating and is too steep to meet ADA standards. It was built in 1975, when the library’s main reading room was constructed.
The parking lot, located behind the library and to the rear of Temple Ahavath Achim, will be on land acquired with donated funds by the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library in 2003, in anticipation of a larger construction project that was later shelved.
Wright Industries Inc. of Essex was chosen as general contractor for the project by the board of the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library earlier in April. Completion is expected by October.
“We look forward to how this landscaping will further beautify Gloucester’s designated Civic Center,” board president Scott Memhard said. “This project has been under design for nearly three years. We believe the entire city will benefit from a more inviting entry to the library and badly needed off-street parking.” Use of the parking lot will be limited patrons, library staff and volunteers.
The landscaping is being made possible by funds from private donors, along with a $75,000 Community Preservation Act grant approved by the Gloucester Community Preservation Committee, the City Council and Mayor Carolyn A. Kirk. Additional fundraising is planned to finish the work
Memhard and library director Carol Gray thanked the city for its Community Preservation Act support. They also applauded the work of the Sawyer Free Library’s buildings and grounds committee, led by former board president Greg Bover. Other committee members are Daniel Ottenheimer, Carolyn Lawler, Joan Major Ciolino, Mary Weissblum, John Rando, Memhard, and Mrs. Gray.
The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library traces its roots to 1830. Library operations are funded by municipal appropriations that make up less than 1 percent of the city’s annual budget, supplemented by state assistance. The present library location was acquired in 1884 with money given by Samuel E. Sawyer “for the benefit of the citizens of Gloucester.”
Contact: Carol Gray, 978-281-9763, ext. 13.