Heroes Park Library will open Spring 2019
By Bette Sharpe
Special to Independent Newsmedia
Construction for the Heroes Regional Park Library in Glendale is finally underway.
The library will be a part of Heroes Regional Park, at 83rd Avenue Bethany Home Road, which has been a work in progress for two decades. The park is currently a mix of play structures and ramadas and vacant land. After long last, part of that vacant land will be used for Glendale’s fourth library branch.
A ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for the the new library was held Wednesday, June 27. Construction officially began Monday, June 11. The library is scheduled to open in Spring 2019.
“The Heroes Regional Park Library, while long overdue, is such an exciting opportunity to provide free and equitable access to information, technology and cultural and educational materials to our citizens,” said Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers. “I want to thank our City Council, especially Yucca District Council member Joyce Clark, for their support. Our Library Board, our city staff — it takes everyone working together to make it happen.”
The library first appeared on the city’s budget in 1999 and it was originally scheduled for construction in 2003-2004 and scheduled to open in 2004. Though the opening date was pushed back 15 years, Glendale’s fourth library is finally becoming a reality.
The 7,500 square-foot library will serve an estimated 80,000 visitors annually and bring an array of library programs, services and the latest innovations in library technologies to Glendale’s west side. It will eventually have a collection of about 25,000 books. Facility amenities will include dedicated children’s and “teen’s only” patio areas. A large glass window will bring the park inside.
City Councilwoman Joyce Clark, who has served on Council intermittently since 1992 representing the Yucca District which includes Heroes Park, has pushed for the library for a long time. One early concept for the new library branch included a modular manufactured building that would resemble a mobile home. Another concept was to use space in the Glendale Media Center at 95th and Maryland avenues for the library and have an ATM-like book dispenser at Heroes Park.
Instead, Ms. Clark’s district will soon receive a full library, on par with the city’s three existing branches.
In her remarks at the groundbreaking, Ms. Clark thanked the libraries’ previous directors, Rodeane Widom and Sue Komernicky, for their efforts and persistence in making the new library a reality.
Ms. Clark also thanked the current City Council for their support.
In addition to Mayor Weiers and Ms. Clark, Barrel District Councilman Bart Turner, Cactus District Councilman Ian Hugh, Vice Mayor Lauren Tolmachoff, who represents the Cholla District, and Ms. Small, community service director, each shoveled dirt during the ceremonial groundbreaking.
Staffing the new branch will be 15 employees, adding up to seven and a half full-time equivalent salaries. The 15 positions will include an administrative librarian, a library operations coordinator, a full-time librarian, a part-time librarian, seven part-time public service assistants, two part-time pages, a part-time courier and a security guard.
Many Glendale employees were involved in making the library a reality, including several who are no longer with the city.
Elaine Adamczyk was the interim community services director before Stephanie Small took the position. She was over many departments, including the libraries. Before Michael Beck became the current chief librarian, Karen Reed served as interim director. Erik Strunk, now a deputy city manager for Peoria, was the executive director of Parks, Recreation and Library Services and championed the new library, and Mojgan Vehabzadeh, Glendale’s public arts coordinator had a role in the process as well.
Mr. Beck, Glendale’s chief librarian celebrated the groundbreaking.
“It really is a truly wonderful day,” he said.
Glendale’s three existing library branches are the Velma Teague Branch Library at Murphy Park downtown, at the corner of 58th and Glendale avenues, the Glendale Main Library at 59th Avenue and Brown Street, and the Foothills Branch Library near 57th Avenue and Union Hills Road. The Foothills Branch Library was the last Glendale library to open in July 1999.
While she celebrated the library groundbreaking she’d pushed for for years, Ms. Clark pointed out that the park is far from built out.
“We’re not done yet. We still have a lot of dirt, don’t we?” she said. “We still have a park that’s been promised since the late 1990s that is not complete. So Council, if you think I’m done, I’m not.”