Council gets sneak peek at EP library

EAST PEORIA — There’s not a book in sight, but the new Fondulac District Library in the city’s all-new Levee District is in its final phase of construction and could be ready to open in early October. The mayor, commissioners and city officials took a tour of the construction site Tuesday before the evening’s City Council meeting.

The library district and the city will share some of the space in the new $7 million library, including a common atrium entryway, meeting rooms and a new City Council chambers.

“I’m really impressed with the progress and with the way it’s coming together,” said Commissioner Tim Jeffers. “It’s going to be a real diamond for us in the center of the city.”

The group got a first look on the ground at what will eventually be a civic plaza complete with walkways, landscaping and a bandshell. The triangular patch at the east end of the building at 400 Richland St. will be in full view from the new council chambers with floor-to-ceiling windows and from the second floor of the library. The plaza is located between Costco to the south and Target, Gordman’s and a lot of other commercial development to the north.

“It will be a functional and useful space for generations to come,” said Ty Livingston, the city’s director of planning and development. “And it will be a great space to hang out in.”

The white stone and red brick library will be 32,000 square feet, almost triple the size of the current facility, with children’s books on the first floor and computers and adult books on the large second floor. The city will occupy about 7,000 square feet in the building initially.

The building’s opening is uncertain. The concrete floors have been poured, and the floors must be sufficiently dry to proceed.

“We’re waiting on the floors to dry,” said Will Helmick, of CM+design, the project’s architect.

The current library may close around Sept. 1 and take about a month to make the move into the new facility by early October.

In other business Tuesday, the council:

  • Approved a new licensing structure for used car dealers.
  • Approved two special use requests, one for an auto body shop at 1101 E. Washington St. and another for a used car sales lot at 727 S. Main St.
  • Approved receipt of a grant from Tazewell County for $40,000 to help offset the cost of the city’s curbside recycling program.
  • Changed city liquor ordinances to make the first year of a beer garden license probationary.