Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When a Door Closes . . .

Once upon a time, a grand new entrance for the library, with an elaborate plaza, featuring grassy areas and "seating steps," trees, benches, tables and chairs, was proposed for the State Street side of the Armory building. 

The Historic Preservation Commission didn't like the design for the entrance very much. Several members thought the pseudo Classical portico being proposed was incompatible with both the Romanesque "medieval fortress" style of the building and the modern design of the proposed plaza. Despite these misgivings, however, the HPC approved the design in August 2013.

In May 2014 it became public knowledge that the plan to have a separate entrance to the library on State Street had been scrapped. Everyone entering the building, be they bound for the library, the senior center, or for the headquarters of Perfect 10, would enter by way of the existing North Fifth Street entrance. The elements of the plaza were to be relocated to North Fifth Street as well.

It appears that the planners realized only recently that the library would require an alternative means of egress, so the Galvan entourage--Daniel Kent, project manager, and Charles Vieni, highway engineer turned architectural consultant, accompanied by Teresa Parsons and David Murphy of the library board--were at the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on Friday with a revised design for the State Street entrance.

Vieni described it as a "scaled down version" of the original design that would "clean State Street up." When asked by HPC chair Rick Rector if this was an emergency exit of a permanent entrance, Vieni replied, "The use of the entrance depends on the people inside."  

Without any more discussion than that, the HPC voted unanimously to waive a public hearing and direct the city attorney to prepare a certificate of appropriateness.

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