Griffith library eyes new location

2011-05-12T00:00:00Z 2011-05-12T00:20:30Z Griffith library eyes new locationBy Charles F. Haber Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 12, 2011 12:00 am  • 

GRIFFITH | Local residents may soon check out their books in a brand new library.

Representatives of the Lake County Public Library met with the Plan Commission on Wednesday and received approval for a public hearing next month.

The library plans to build a new facility at the southwest corner of 45th Street and Colfax Avenue, architect Thomas Kuhn said.

He said Griffith has outgrown its existing branch on Broad Street.

Lake County Public Library Director Larry Acheff said the existing branch will be closed and added a smaller branch, on 41st Street in unincorporated Calumet Township, might also be closed.

Acheff said the Broad Street branch would probably be sold. He was asked by Town Councilman Michael Gulley, D-4th, if the library might donate the building to the town.

"The board would probably consider that," Acheff said.

If approved, the new building would be 18,000 square feet and sit on a 3-acre corner lot.

Kuhn said the building would be similar to one in St. John, "but bigger."

The new building would have an exterior of brick and stone with sidewalks on three sides, Kuhn said.

He also noted it would feature a children's outdoor area and the interior would have a child's program room and a meeting room.

Construction could begin in the fall and would take 10-12 months to complete, Kuhn said.

In other business, the commission is considering a proposal by Pockets Billiards to locate a billiards business in the vacant Griffith Furniture Store building at 116 S. Broad St.

Owners Carlo Cesare and Patrick Bukiri said they are waiting to receive a liquor license and would purchase the building if the town approves the business.

Board members said the site is not zoned for a pool room, so the proposal must go before the Board of Zoning Appeals to seek a variance.

Cesare said they would invest about $500,000 in the building and about $175,000 for exterior improvements.

Town Councilman Rick Ryfa, R-3rd, said the business, if approved, would probably qualify for the town's business facade program.

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