Downtown’s Library Park to undergo renovation, name change

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Library _Fotor
Final concept for the park presented to County Commissioners. Photo Courtesy of New Hanover County.

The Library Park, which sits adjacent to the Main Library on the corner of Chestnut and Third streets, will soon be in the midst of a renovation that county commissioners hope will transform the space from a loitering destination to an innovative learning environment.

According to county officials, the new park called The Carolina Courtyard is intended to bring the education efforts of the Library staff outdoors, encouraging learning programs in an outdoor space. The $290,000 renovation is part of the $35.5 million bond referendum to expand parks, green space, and cultural facilities throughout Wilmington, New Hanover County passed in 2006 by city and county residents.

Lauren Dixon of OBS Landscape Architects, presented County Commissioners the new design for the park during a meeting on Monday, August 17. New additions include a bike corral, large shade kite to protect visitors from the sun, a circular lawn space, and demonstration gardens featuring edible plants, pollinator plants, and a shade garden intended for library programs for people of all ages.

Commissioners were concerned about the loitering in the current space and according to Dixon, the park’s open design will allow for an active space that will encourage different user groups.

“By bringing more people to the park, and putting more eyes on it, it should drastically reduce this problem, added Harry Touchmayer, library director.

Touchmayer believes creating visibility throughout the site by leveling out the courtyard for an easier line of sight from the parking deck next to the library to Third Street will allow for more people to access the park and become less tempting for loiterers.

“I think the new additions along with added line of sight through the park is really a winwin,” said Touchmayer. “We’re really excited, we’ve had a lot of input from different elements in the city and the county and I think you’ll see a great transformation of the space.”

The project will go out for bid to contractors in late October and should be completed in time to highlight the library’s summer reading club activities scheduled for mid-June.

James Mieczkowski is a news reporter for Port City Daily. He can be reached at james.m@portcitydaily.com On Twitter: @mieczkowskiPCD