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Park planned for Carnegie library, music hall land

Jim Spezialetti
| Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, 10:42 a.m.
Joe Hackett, principal at LaQuatra Bonci Associates (left), and Jeremy Brown, designer, show one of the design ideas for Library Park at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.
Jim Spezialetti | Tribune-Review
Joe Hackett, principal at LaQuatra Bonci Associates (left), and Jeremy Brown, designer, show one of the design ideas for Library Park at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.

A trip to the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie could soon include a visit to a new park.

The library and music hall — more than a century old — have undergone upgrades while maintaining the historic look of the buildings.

Library executive director Maggie Forbes said she often wondered if there was a better way to connect the historic building on top of the hill with the business district at the bottom.

To this end, the library and music hall received a $35,000 grant from the Allegheny Foundation to help fund a design concept for Library Park, the green space from the building to the bottom of Beechwood Avenue.

Having pathways going through Library Park is the key to connecting Main Street with the facility, officials said.

In addition to a pathway, the park could incorporate a children's play area, benches, shaded areas, large stones, sculptures, landscaping, plaza space and lighting.

“This is the only green space in the heart of the town,” Forbes said. “(The park) will be a gift to the community.”

The key issue is connecting Main Street with the facility.

While parking is not an issue during library hours, parking is limited for those attending performances at the music hall.

LaQuatra Bonci Associates of Pittsburgh's South Side is working to create the design concept.

Representatives from LaQuatra Bonci were at the library last week to gather input from community members.

More than 100 photographs were on display for patrons to view and select three that resonated with them to be featured in Library Park.

“The pictures are a way to get people to start talking,” said Joe Hackett, principal at LaQuatra Bonci. “We had a lot of great conversations.”

Nearly 50 residents and community leaders viewed the photos during the day with another dozen attending the informal presentation in the evening.

“It's a tangible way of what the library means to the community,” Forbes said.

Hackett's team presented five designs based on community feedback earlier in the day.

The designs are to begin the conversation of what will lead to the final design concept.

Forbes said the design concept will enable the library to move forward and seek other grants to help fund the project.

She said LaQuatra Bonci could present renderings, and a budget to the library board by early September.

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5805 or jspezialetti@tribweb.com.

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