Purchase agreements approved by The Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees will clear the way for construction of a new Brightwood Branch on the city's near east side.
After more than a year of negotiations with property owners, Library trustees on December 18 approved purchases of four tracts totaling 2.3 acres on which a new 15,000-square-foot branch will be built. It will replace an undersized facility in the Brightwood Shopping Center that has served the community since 1972. The acquired properties are located across from the shopping center near the intersection of E. 25th Street and N. Sherman Drive. The Library also will work to acquire the titles of other adjacent properties either subject to disposition by the County Commission or available for transfer through the Renew Indianapolis program.
"Although this has been a long process, we are excited to move forward and united as a community to provide the level of Library services that the Martindale-Brightwood area deserves," stated Jackie Nytes, CEO, Indianapolis Public Library. "Our focus now turns to receiving input from neighborhood residents on the kinds of programs and building features that will make the new Brightwood Branch uniquely theirs."
The location for a new Brightwood Branch will meet several important goals, including access to public transportation and safe, walkable access for children and adults. The branch will provide new spaces for children and teens, more computer access and an enhanced community meeting area. Its greater visual presence will allow the Library to serve as an anchor to stimulate neighborhood development. It will also serve as a major partner in the Brightwood Education Zone, initiated by Martin University to provide comprehensive educational support and services to mothers and children through grade 5 in the neighborhood.
"The Brightwood Library has been a key institution in the Martindale-Brightwood community since 1901," said Josephine Rogers-Smith, Executive Director of the Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corporation. "The new library will inspire hope and give way to showcase economic prosperity for the community."
Community engagement meetings, facilitated by project architect Axis Architecture + Interiors, will be held during the first quarter of 2018 to gather public input on the new library's design and community priorities. Design work will continue throughout 2018 with construction beginning in early 2019. The new Brightwood Branch is scheduled to open in early 2020.
"It is an awesome thing to have a new library in Martindale-Brightwood, especially a freestanding library," said Amy Harwell, President of the OneVoice citizens group. "I can't ask for anything more important to happen for us, and we thank the Library staff who has worked long and hard helping this community to achieve this goal."
The $5.9 million Brightwood Branch is part of an overall series of capital projects identified in the Library's Strategic Plan continuing through 2022 and funded from individual bonds approved by the Indianapolis City-Council Council with no increase in the Library's current debt service tax rate.