The City of Highland Park (City) and the Highland Park Public Library (Library) are exploring a possible expansion of the Library to better meet community demand for space and services as well as improve parking and traffic flow. In addition, in an effort to improve efficiencies and provide the highest level of services, the City is also exploring the relocation of Youth and/or Senior Services to an expanded library facility.
An agreement with Williams Architects was approved by the City Council at the April 24, 2017 meeting. Williams Architects was selected following a comprehensive review of proposals by an eleven-panel committee consisting of City and Library representatives. The consultant will perform a formal needs assessment and provide architectural design and preliminary engineering. Public focus group meetings are planned as part of the needs assessment; dates will be announced mid-May 2017.
In February 2017, the City and Library coordinated three meetings with area neighbors to review a possible expansion and solicit feedback. The inclusion of City services was the result of on-going discussion and input by advisory groups, residents, the City and Library dating back to 2015.
The two properties immediately east of the Library located at 444 and 466 Laurel Avenue were purchased by the City of Highland Park. These adjacent properties would make a facility and/or parking expansion more feasible. The City Council approved the residential real estate contract at the October 24, 2016 City Council meeting for a total of $1.55 million.
“As residents, we know the value of high-quality community services. After careful consideration, the City is pleased to explore this possible partnership and development to meet current and future needs,” stated Mayor Nancy Rotering. “The inclusion of Senior and Youth Services is a way to better serve residents of all ages in a convenient, easy to access, state of the art facility while creating efficiencies and strengthening resources, programs and services.”
“The Library approached the City with a request to assist with inadequate parking and a possible Library expansion to better serve more than 1,000 visitors that they serve daily,” said City Manager Ghida Neukirch. “We are pleased to be working collaboratively with all stakeholders as we take steps to achieve a thoughtful solution to meet the needs of residents today and for years to come.”
Library Board President Jerry Aufox stated, "We are grateful to Highland Park’s City Council and staff for collaborating with us to possibly expand the Library. We look forward to working with the City and residents as we plan to bring new concepts and services which will enrich our community and its residents for years to come."
Highland Park Public Library Executive Director Jane Conway stated, “A possible Library expansion provides an opportunity for us to consider solutions to longstanding issues including parking and an undersized Youth Services Department.”
Senior Services are currently housed at the Highland Park Senior Center at 54 Laurel Avenue. The facility is a renovated 1929 residential property that has posed several service challenges including parking limitations, accessibility issues within the facility and limited space for programming. The Senior Services Division provides more than 900 services throughout the year to the public.
Youth Services are currently housed in the Firehouse Youth Center located at 1830 Green Bay Road. The Firehouse is in need of significant capital improvement. The facility is a multi-purpose renovated fire station that includes an activity center, study room, counseling area, meeting room and staff offices.
For more information, including a list of questions and answers about this initiative, visit the City’s web site at www.cityhpil.com/libraryexpansion or call the City Manager’s Office at 847-926-1000.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When will the potential Library expansion commence?
It is anticipated that the planned development would proceed through the City’s Plan & Design Commission process in 2019 with construction anticipated in 2020.
What are the advantages of the proposed Highland Park Public Library expansion?
The expanded Library will offer ample parking, accessibility, up-to-date amenities and improved services to all residents in a central location. It would meet the needs of our Senior and Youth Services Programs while achieving community-wide efficiencies and cost savings.
Will the public have input into this project?
Absolutely. Public feedback is critical. The City will continue to work with the Youth and Senior Advisory Groups as relocation is explored. The Library will also be soliciting input. Workshops will be held in advance of formal consideration by the Plan & Design Commission. The process will also include public hearings.
Will Library services be disrupted?
The Highland Park Public Library would continue to be open to serve the public during the construction and transition.
What will happen to the current Senior Center and Youth Facility?
The City will explore the possible sale of both properties.
What are the terms of the contract?
The Residential Real Estate Contract can be found on the City’s website. The purchase price is $1,550,000 and reflects the $900,000 for the sale of 444 Laurel and $650,000 for 466 Laurel. The closing of the properties will take place no later than December 31, 2016. Kurt and Robyn Silberstein own the properties.
What is the estimated cost of the new facility?
The potential project is preliminary and in an exploration phase. The City will provide an estimate when planning and design work is complete for the building addition. The City will issue a Request for Proposal for professional architectural and engineering services.
Where will funding come from for a possible Library expansion?
The City and Library will share in the cost of the construction. An agreement between the two parties will be developed. The City has $7M in its five-year Capital Improvement Plan for the construction of a facility to house City and other services in year 2020.
Will the expansion match the look and feel of the current Highland Park Public Library facility?
Yes. The expansion will complement the current design of the Highland Park Pubic Library.
What are the City’s next steps in preparing for a possible expansion?
Regular updates will be posted on the City’s web site atwww.cityhpil.com/libraryexpansion.
Who can I contact about this project?
If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback, please contact the City Manager’s Office at 847-926-1000 or email email@example.com.