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Construction on a new one-acre “Library Gardens” outdoor area south of the current Moline Public Library on 41st Street could begin as early as this spring.
The project – which includes walking paths, landscaping, a small outdoor stage, shaded meeting areas and a 16-panel interactive “story loop” – is estimated to cost around $1.4 million. It will be funded by a combination of a capital campaign, grants and contributions from local charitable organizations.
Library Director Bryon Lear said momentum for the project began in late 2021, after the Library Board finally purchased the approximately one-acre parcel that formerly had a single-family home and a few other structures on it. When those structures were demolished in 2022, what to do with the now available extra space became part of the Library Board’s strategic planning sessions.
“We held focus groups and a community survey to gather ideas from the public on how they’d like to see us use the space,” Lear said. “The majority said they’d like to see green space and gardens as well as additional programming spaces.”
The Library hired local design firm Shive-Hattery to put together a plan. A large courtyard area, anchored by a beautiful magnolia tree that blooms bright pink every spring, is at the center of the design. Surrounding the courtyard are shade structures, an event lawn, the storytelling loop, seating areas and lots of landscaping touches.
“It will offer spaces to curl up with a book by yourself as well as places to meet with a book club and opportunities for all types of programs,” Lear said. “We really think this is going to be a unique project and something everyone in Moline can be proud of.”
The outdoor space will also include a new entrance on the Library’s south side, have WiFi throughout and decorative lighting.
Design and engineering work should wrap up later this year, with construction targeted to start in spring.
You can learn more about the project – and how to support it – by visiting https://www.molinelibrary.com/421/Moline-Library-Gardens.