FORD CITY – Borough Council received a grant from the county to rehab the Ford City Public Library.
Library Director Anita Bowser said the funds will be used to make the building more accessible for patrons with disabilities.
“The Borough got a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). We are going to be changing our accessibility so that we are ADA-accessible. Our front double doors are really cumbersome and difficult for people to come in if they are in a chair, on a walker, or even people with canes, or baby strollers. They are going to replace the existing doors with automatic doors. There will be two sets and they will both open using a button, coming and going.”
The doors have been an issue because although there are two sets, they are extremely close together.
“There still will be two doors, but they will increase the distance because it makes it hard for people in a chair or with equipment to get through because of limited space. They will have to pull his wall out and make the space between the doors wider.”
Bowser said contractors will also install doors at the rear of the library, which currently are not there.
“We are going to install an emergency exit that is also handicap accessible. It will be wide enough for someone with a chair or walker. Then outside they are going to put handicap parking.”
Bowser said the work is to be completed by September 2018. The scope of work will also include updates and modifications to public and staff restrooms.
“They will be expanding the doors so they are ADA-compliant. Then they will be changing some things in the bathroom so that a person in a chair can easily use the sink and mirror. All of our doorways are going to be widened.”
Bowser outlined the arrangement between the Borough and the Library.
“The property is owned by the Borough. The building was built by a community group led by John Englert. It was built specifically for the library. So the Borough owns the property, the Library owns the building, but the Borough maintains the building for us. We have a very good relationship.”
Bowser said security cameras will be installed soon around the parameter of the building since there were several problems recently with vandalism.
“We have had a rash of vandalism here at the Library. In the past month, we have had three incidents of vandalism.”
She pointed to a bench where someone had forcibly broken lumber slats on the seat of the bench.
“I don’t know what kind of force it would take to do that. It’s not rotted wood. I think someone deliberately jumped on it or did something to break it.
“We also had someone damage our doors and we had to have the locks replaced. Someone threw debris and ice into our book deposit and damaged our books.
“It’s very unusual. We haven’t had vandalism for a very long time. It’s been several years. And then it was just little pranks, such as taking the ‘L’ out of ‘Public Library’ (sign). But this has been serious and has been three incidents in a month. So we are looking at getting some security and surveillance outside the building to take precautions. It’s disheartening.”
The Library has had to endure mud recently from a water main break out on the street.
To find out about any activities at the Library, you can call 724-763-3591. The Library also maintains a Face Book page with a list of current programs being offered.