In 1963, the Elkhart Public Library moved from its original location to a beautiful new state-of-the-art building. The beauty of the Main Library has stood the test of time, but much has changed in 52 years. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, building codes have been updated, and library users and their needs have increased and expanded.
The Library is an important asset to the Elkhart community that should be accessible to all. To this end we are seeking a bond that will fund limited renovations which are described below.
- Our two public elevators are 52 years old. They are inaccessible to standard-sized wheelchairs, preventing access to the second floor (reference, nonfiction, newspapers, magazines, genealogy, and local history), and to the meeting rooms in the basement. They malfunction frequently, and replacement parts are no longer available.
- The only ADA-compliant restroom is on the second floor, which cannot be accessed by people with standard-sized wheelchairs because of the elevator issues.
- The proposed renovations would make our existing first floor restrooms ADA-compliant and add compliant restrooms near the basement meeting rooms.
- Passageways and entrances to our basement meeting rooms would be widened to meet building code for public spaces.
- The basement HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system, which dates back to 1963, would be replaced.
- Aging light fixtures and worn carpets would be replaced in existing meeting rooms, and two more flexible meeting spaces would be added in the basement.
- Several small study/conference rooms would be added on the second floor.
To make these and other improvements possible, we are requesting a 5-year bond. Though the bond is not the financial responsibility of the City or the County, Indiana law requires approval from both the Common Council (City of Elkhart) and the County Council.*
The Elkhart community deserves a Library that will meet the needs of our diverse population. More information about the proposed renovations, how they will benefit our community, and the process required is available here: http://tinyurl.com/EPL-Bond
* Update: Our bond issue has been approved by both councils! The construction bidding process will begin in August, and we hope to begin the work in November. If all goes as planned, our community will have a more user-friendly Main Library next spring!