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Agreement with Shaler Area helps library's parking woes

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:04 p.m.
Bethany Hofstetter
Thanks to a new aggreement with Shaler Area School District, parking woes at Shaler North Hills Library should be alleviated.

Shaler North Hills Library staff hopes a new agreement between Shaler Township and Shaler Area School District officials will alleviate the ongoing parking issues at the library.

This month the township board of commissioners and school board approved a lease agreement that will dedicate the parking lot between the library and Shaler Area Middle School to library patrons.

“The growth of the library has been unbelievable and people are using the library more than ever and parking has always been an issue,” said Sharon McRae, library director.

“I know for library patrons it's been a long-standing issue, especially in the morning. … People have said ‘we don't come any more because we can't get near the place.' They drive by and don't see a parking spot and they keep driving by.”

The library staff recently extended the morning hours of its adult library section on Mondays and Fridays in an attempt to make it easier for patrons to check out books. However, McRae hopes the new agreement also will make it easier for patrons and families to attend the library programs for which the library received the 2012 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

The year-to-year agreement will allow the township to lease the parking lot between the library and middle school for $1.

The township will be responsible for insuring the parking lot and maintaining it. The school district will retain five visitor parking spaces, one of which will be handicapped accessible, closest to the middle school's main entrance.

Township manager Tim Rogers said he is “very grateful” to the school district for the agreement.

“This provides deeply needed parking for the library,” Rogers said.

District employees will be asked to park in the middle school's southern lots located between the school and shopping plaza and next to the Titan Stadium field.

Township officials will work to establish directive signs in the parking lot in the coming months, and Shaler Township police officers will be available during the first week of school to help enforce the new parking arrangement.

“I'm grateful for the township and the school district for allowing us to lease the lot,” McRae said. “Both the school district and township think enough of the library that they want to see people use it and have a chance to get in here.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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