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Work to create Library Park in Carnegie set to begin

| Saturday, June 3, 2017, 12:56 a.m.
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An artist's rendering of Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall's Library Park shows what the area along Beechwood Avenue in Carnegie is expected to look like when work is completed in the fall of 2018.

A $1.5 million project to create Library Park on the hillside below the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall overlooking Carnegie's business district is set to begin next week.

When the project is complete — sometime in the fall of 2018 — the hillside will include a winding sidewalk path, benches, trees and eventually public art, said the facility's executive director, Maggie Forbes.

The project's first phase begins June 15 and will prohibit on-site parking through September.

Work this summer will focus on improvements around the building, including new sidewalks, a new driveway with distinguishable parking spaces, as well as lampposts, benches and a flag pole, Forbes said. In addition, electrical and stormwater management work necessary for Library Park will be completed.

The second phase will focus on turning the hillside into Library Park — a design element Forbes said has been a dream in the making for more than a decade. The goal is to blend the library and music hall with the business district below.

“We'll go from a barrier to something that connects to the business district,” Forbes said.

The park project, so far, has received two large grants: $500,000 from the Allegheny Foundation and $350,000 from the Colcom Foundation, Forbes said. The Allegheny Foundation helped the project get underway in 2016 with a $35,000 grant to fund conceptual design.

“Of all the things we've done here, Library Park has captured people. That rendering isn't fantasy.”

Free public on-street parking is accessible along Beechwood Avenue on the hillside, where Forbes said about 20 spaces are available during the daytime. Patrons also may consider parking along streets behind the library and music hall, Forbes said. A few on-site spots for dropping off or picking up books will be available, Forbes said, adding that those spots will have a strictly enforced time limit.

“I'm not denying that it's going to be an inconvenience, but we're going to have the drop-off spaces,” she said.

For music hall performances and private events, a free shuttle will operate from the public parking lot at Main and Pine streets, Forbes said. Among the events scheduled: Stage 62's July performances of “Spamalot.”

“We would like to encourage people to take advantage of the shuttle rather than park in the neighborhood around us,” Forbes said.

Forbes said she hopes patrons continue using the library and music hall through the work.

“Please don't stay away from the library,” she said. “Keep coming.”

Bobby Cherry is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rcherry@tribweb.com and on Twitter at @bc_trib.

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