“This will be a monument to the community,” he declared Saturday at a book festival inside ye olde library on Colesville Road.
The glass and limestone building will sit at the southwest corner of Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street, with a section hanging over a possible Purple Line light rail station. Access to the library’s third floor entrance will be at either Wayne Avenue or along Fenton Street, where escalators and stairs will be installed. Sorry, trebuchet fans.
“We wanted this library to look snappy with pizzazz,” David Dise, director of the county’s general services department, told the 45 people packed into ye olde library’s large meeting room. The new joint would serve not only as a bookend (ha ha) to the Downtown Silver Spring development, but also as a gateway to the underdeveloped Fenton Village neighborhood, he explained.
The current design does not include a pedestrian bridge leading to the Wayne Avenue garage, across the street from the library site. However, the building will be constructed to accommodate a bridge in the future in case the county council changes its mind on the matter, Dise and Leggett indicated.
In July, the county council voted to quash an amendment to downtown Silver Spring’s development plan that would have permitted the bridge’s construction. Council member Duchy Trachtenberg (D-At large), who voted down the amendment and was at Saturday’s library gig, said the whole bridge subject might be brought to the council’s health and human services committee in the next six to eight months.
“Having flexibility in the design was the wisest course of action,” Trachtenberg told The Penguin. She did not indicate whether she or the council would reverse course.
But Dale Tibbitts, right-hand man to council member Marc Elrich (D-At large), was ready to bet the house that this council wouldn’t approve a pedestrian bridge over Wayne Avenue. They objected to the possibility that a bridge connecting the library directly with the garage would discourage people from visiting businesses in Fenton Village, he explained.
Bridge advocates at the event, most of whom were physically disabled one way or another, continued to press for the thing to be built. The bridge would allow disabled visitors to enter the library without messing with the intersection at Wayne and Fenton, which might include a Purple Line crossing in addition to automobile traffic, they spelled out in fliers distributed at the book fest.
“It just makes common sense to do what’s right for the community,” Leggett, who pressed really freakin’ hard for the bridge, told the audience.
For now, managers with Silver Spring’s parking lot district will provide reserved parking for disabled library patrons on the garage’s first level, Dise said. There’s also $300,000 in crosswalk improvements slated for the intersection at Wayne and Fenton, he added.
As for the library building, Dise predicted a spring groundbreaking after the property is cleared of existing buildings — the Moose lodge, two car-repair shops, a hair salon and a real-estate office — and underground utilities are dropped in place over the winter.