Main Library Renovation Groundbreaking

YOUNGSTOWN (August 7, 2020/For Immediate Release) — A virtual groundbreaking ceremony was held on the front lawn of the Main Library, 305 Wick Ave., today at 11:30 a.m. to celebrate the start of the renovation project with work on the site expected to begin next week. Due to the COVID-19 environment, the groundbreaking was a virtual event, live-streamed on the Library’s Facebook page. Safety procedures were observed, with participants wearing masks and social distancing.

Library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek has expressed that, “With a building project like this, the challenge is always about how to honor the past while making a statement about the future.” When planning the renovation, the Design Team placed importance on the rich history of the Main Library, as well as the knowledge that library spaces must be designed with flexibility to meet the ever-changing needs and wants of the communities they serve. [Read more below]


Main Library Is Historic Carnegie Library

The Main Library, an Andrew Carnegie library, is located at 305 Wick Ave., Youngstown, OH. The 110-year-old building opened in 1910 and since then the building has undergone two major renovations. A renovation in 1954 changed the face of the building by removing the front stairs and period lampposts from the face of the building on Wick Avenue. The second renovation, which included a large addition to the building and relocated the entrance to the side, off the parking lot, was dedicated in 1996.

Main Library renovation was kicked off with a groundbreaking on August 7, 2020.

Dr. David Ritchie Talks About Project

Dr. David Ritchie welcomed those in attendance and watching the livestreamed event at LibraryMahoningCounty on FaceBook. Dr. Ritchie noted that although the COVID-19 environment restricted the kind of groundbreaking event the Library would have liked to do, he noted this was a significant event and a time to celebrate.

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Aimee Fifarek Reflects on History

Ms. Fifarek said, “When we started this project over a year ago, none of us could have predicted that we would be holding the groundbreaking ceremony to mark the renovation of Youngstown and Mahoning County’s first library amid a global pandemic, with no in-person audience, with the participants masked and distanced for our protection.

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Construction on Site Begins Next Week

Work on the site begins next week. The renovation of the existing building will begin in late fall of 2020 and the building addition will begin in spring of 2021. The project is expected to be completed in early 2022.

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For more information, see Main Library Renovation page>>

Main Library Renovation

Project Architect’s Overview 

Rick Ortmeyer of Bostwick Design Partnership, project architects, said: 

Each part of the project – the restoration of the original Reuben McMillan Free Library, the modern expansion, the new urban garden setting along Wick Avenue – is truly special. The combination of these elements together is a rare and remarkable gift to the community, allowing a renewed historic library to meet 21st Century library service demands, celebrating a vibrant history and providing a bright future.

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