The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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June 25, 2013

Ashtabula County District Library getting much-needed repairs

At 110 years old, it’s the only Carnegie library left in the county

ASHTABULA — Repairs are under way for a historic downtown Ashtabula building that houses the Ashtabula County District Library on West 44th Street.

The library is 110 years old and it’s the only Carnegie library left in Ashtabula County, Director Bill Tokarczyk said.

A Carnegie Library is a library built with money donated by businessman Andrew Carnegie. More than 2,500 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929.

“We are trying to do enough to preserve the building,” Tokarczyck said. “We are committed to staying downtown.”

The total cost of repair work to the Ashtabula County District Library’s main building on West 44th Street was estimated at more than $600,000, according to experts from Ziska Architecture.

However, the library board of trustees have $100,000 saved in its development fund and will be using that money to restore the front brickwork, repair the chimney in the back, and replace the windows and the roof, Tokarczyk said, noting they will not be going to the taxpayers for the money for this phase of renovations.

“Replacing the windows alone cost $50,000,” he said. “By the end of August, we should be done with the new windows.”

Ziska Architecture studied the Ashtabula Library last summer, specifically for steps necessary to maintain it.

At its October meeting, the library’s board of trustees committed to a multi-phased plan to make the needed repairs, and to some day expand into the Ashtabula Area City Schools District’s property.

“We hope to eventually add-on 1,200- or 1,500-square-feet,” Tokarczyk said. “Anyone who visits the library can see we are overcrowded.”

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