Updated 7:40 p.m. Wednesday, 4/29: The meeting venue has been changed, and details have been added.
NORWALK, Conn. – There will be a public meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 4, at the Norwalk Public Library on Belden Avenue to discuss the concept of moving the Norwalk Library to General Growth Properties’ proposed SoNo mall at the 95/7 interchange on West Avenue.
According to Library Director Christine Bradley, Library Board member Mary Pugh called the meeting to follow up on a presentation made to the board March 12 by Norwalk 2.0 co-founder Jackie Lightfield. Bradley said Library Board President Stan Siegel asked Pugh to “put forth a recommendation for the Board to consider relative to the presentation, impact, and how to proceed.”
According to the meeting minutes, “Ms. Lightfield showed how her idea of a new Library would fit and she showed other Mall libraries in Maine and Portland. There was discussion that Downtown Norwalk (Wall Street) is on the brink of great change and revitalization now that the mall is a possibility by creating interest.
“There was discussion on parking along with NCC classrooms in the mall. Ms. Lightfield explained that the Wall Street/downtown location includes a bus stop, post office and it is ideal to have a new library as part of this project.”
In a NancyOnNorwalk story dated April 2, Lightfield said the current library buildings would not go away, but “the entire library system could be rethought. You don’t need to offer the same services in each building…” “… To me that means that it would be nice to have a facility that overlooks the Long Island Sound that can function as classroom, auditorium or gathering space for individual or large group size,” she continued. “A conversation about a new library shouldn’t be limited to just whether it is at the mall or not, however the deal to have one there is a real possibility.”
Relocating the library – or some of the services – to the mall could solve a major problem for the Belden Avenue site: parking.
“There has always been a parking problem at the main library and it has been exacerbated recently by the new owner of 11 Belden, Milligan Realty, chaining off the Mott Street entrance to their lot, which is directly behind the library lot, and adding signage stating that violators will be towed,” Bradley wrote in a Tuesday night email to NoN.
Milligan is said to be planning to develop property near the library and is going to need surface parking to make it work. According to Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan in a story reported April 27 on NoN, Milligan is “working proactively” with the library to come up with a solution.
Wednesday, Pugh contacted NoN regarding the change of venue for the meeting, which was originally planned for City Hall. Pugh also added a few details about what those attending can expect.
“We will be making a list of all the pros and cons; ideas, suggestions, etc.,” she said. “Some of the attendees may be able to contribute some answers, but that may wait” until a second meeting.
Pugh said the meeting is planned to last until 8:30 p.m., but could go until 9:30 if necessary.