EAST PALESTINE - It's getting a little easier to get into the memorial public library on North Market Street. For the first time in 20 years the brick building is getting "spruced up," Library Director Tamra Hess said.
The minor exterior renovations began a few weeks ago on the project that has been in the planning over the last year.
"We noticed last year the library just needed some sprucing up. Some of the steel doors had started to rust and also the double doors made it difficult for some people to get in with walkers or strollers," she said.
Those doors have been replaced with new single aluminum doors activated by a handicapped-accessible button to the right. That change alone has been significant.
Although a wheelchair ramp leads to the main entrance, the building has not had a handicapped-accessible door since its construction in 1992.
Hess said people coming and going from the library have commented positively on the new automated doors.
"They have appreciated the fact that now you just have to push a button, and the doors open automatically," she said.
New sidelights have also been installed at the entrances and a drainage problem at the back of the building has been corrected.
The renovations were approved by the library's Board of Trustees and will continue over the next several months.
Future improvements include power washing and tuck pointing the original brick facade and replacing handrails and flagpole holders. Soffit and fascia will also be added.
The work is being done by David Sommers and Associates of Kent, and Stitle Construction of Salem.
Hess said the library was setting aside some money in the building and repair fund for the renovations.
The work will not affect the library's daily operations, she added.
Stitle is the company that originally constructed the building designed by Beck and Tabeling Architects, Inc. in 1992. Before that time the library operated out of a smaller building on the same site.