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Downtown Flagstaff Library seeks community input in outdoor plaza redesign
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Downtown Flagstaff Library seeks community input in outdoor plaza redesign

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A New Entry For The Library

The Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library system will unveil its new electronic search system on Monday, Feb. 1.

The Downtown Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library hopes to break ground on planned renovations to its outdoor plaza by this summer and is asking for community input through an online survey.

The community input survey is primarily being used to solicit ideas for art pieces but will be considered in the structural design process as well.

“The survey is really geared towards the artists,” Library director Jared Tolman said.

The 12-question survey includes a broad range of topics, asking residents to imagine “What do you see downtown Flagstaff looking like in 20 years?” or “What is the most fascinating discovery you have found within the library?” among other inquiries. Participants have until Friday, Jan. 8, at midnight to complete their responses, although the deadline might be extended.

Currently, there are more than 150 submissions.

Tolman said the submissions have been very helpful up until this point, and that he would like to see more pictures uploaded of what the community envisions the final product should look like. 

The redesign will affect the library’s entryways as well as the outdoor plaza, focusing on improvements to both aesthetic and functional form. While many aspects of the plaza will be updated, the main goal, however, is to improve the library’s accessibility, Tolman said. 

“The library entry project was instigated by the need to correct entrance points that were not up to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards,” said Eliza Kretzmann, Flagstaff Beautification, Arts & Sciences manager.

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The proposed changes will  bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design through the addition of a new handicap ramp. To bring the current ramp up to standards, it became necessary to re-imagine the entire layout of the plaza.

“From the front doors down to the sidewalk and parking lot, there is not enough room to change the angle of the [current] ramp and make it compliant,” Tolman said. “That is the whole focus of this, to bring this ramp up to standards.”

Due to the substantial nature of the changes required, the library has taken an opportunistic approach and plans to improve different aspects of the plaza in the process. Currently, the WLB Group, a civil engineering firm, is working on conceptual plans for the entrance along with the rest of the design team.

“This gives us the opportunity to look at it and add some beauty to it,” Tolman said.

As proposals near completion, the design team has asked the Flagstaff Commission on Inclusion and Adaptive living to ensure that the project meets ADA standards, Tolman said.

Other additions to the plaza will include public art that symbolizes the values of a library, including donor recognition opportunities, and an improved outdoor seating that can be used for library programming. 

“The entry re-do is funded by a portion of the Bed, Board and Beverage tax dollars allocated for beautification and public art; it is thus an opportunity to make the space more usable and beautiful as well as compliant,” according to a post from the Flagstaff City Government Facebook page.

On Dec. 1, Flagstaff City Council approved a $75,000 artist’s contract with Jones Studio, Inc. to collaborate with the design team to integrate works of art into the renovations. The contract is funded by the Beautification Program tapping into the Bed, Board and Beverage tax fund.

The process is taking longer than expected, Tolman said, and while he would have liked to have had the ramp updated sooner, the longer process will result in a “really great” finished project.

“The library is a place for everyone. In the end, we will have a place that everyone will gather,” Tolman said.

Brady Wheeler can be reached at bwheeler@azdailysun.com.

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