Library shelves plan, checks out Goldblatt's as West Town branch

By Aaron Bilton

For the past several months, the effort to bring a new library to the West Town neighborhood has been in a holding pattern. We have been waiting for the city to enter into an agreement to purchase the AAA Distributing Co. building, 1830 W. Chicago Ave.

Throughout we have been receiving updates, mostly stating that negotiations were continuing but they would still have to get the money to go forward. Late last fall, the City Council passed a property tax increase, part of which was to be for new libraries. We were informed that the West Town library was high on the list of proposed libraries. After the increase passed, the updates changed slightly but basically stayed along the lines of “negotiations are continuing.”

That was true until recently. Due to the inability to reach an acceptable purchase price, along with an opening at another location, the city has broken off negotiations with the owners of the AAA building.

The new plan is to locate the West Town branch inside the historic Goldblatt's Building, 1635 W. Chicago.

Currently, the proposed space within the Goldblatt’s building is occupied by another city agency, which intends on moving to another location. Once the space is vacated, the library should be clear to move in.

Like the AAA building, this location is central to the West Town neighborhood and has excellent access to public transportation. An existing parking lot will be used by the library. The space is about 5,000 square feet larger than the branch libraries now being built.

Finally, this will not require the city to acquire a new site and construct a new building.

Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey intends on presenting this plan to the Chicago Public Library Board at its March or April meeting.

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