GALLIPOLIS – The demolition of the former Willis Tire Company warehouse continues at the corner of Spruce Street and First Avenue in Gallipolis after it began on August 20.
Acquired in August 2017 by Bossard Memorial Library, the property will be utilized by the library as a parking area and neighboring green space following the demolition and reconstruction project.
Work on the project is expected to continue to early- to mid-November, weather permitting. The area immediately next to Spruce Street will consist of a gravel lot with a little over 70 parking spaces, and will also be equipped with light poles. The area next to the Holzer Wellness Center, from First Avenue to Second Avenue, will be seeded with grass. New curbing and sidewalks around the area will also be added.
The bid for the project was awarded by the Library Board of Trustees to Hutton Excavating of Gallipolis for $447,700 in July. According to Library Director Debbie Saunders, funding for both the purchase of the property, as well as the demolition and renovation project was allocated from the library’s building and repair fund.
“In order to plan for future growth of library services in Gallia County, the library board and administration have set aside monies in the building and repair fund for several years,” Saunders said. “The proximity of this property in relation to the library’s current facility provides for a natural flow of current parking and future development.”
While future plans for the lot are undetermined as the library administration and board examine possible additional uses for the property in the years to come, Saunders stated that additional parking is greatly needed due to large programs and community events that are consistently held at the library. These programs include the world-renowned Bodies Revealed exhibit visited by nearly 20,000 in 2016, as well as the more recent River Recreation Queen Pageant, and the library’s summer reading programs attended by hundreds of people every year.
“With the increased level of attendance we are receiving at library events and community events held in the library’s Riverside Room, the need for parking has been greatly evident,” Saunders said. “This area will also be utilized for not only parking, but also for library-related programs. It affords the library a much-needed green space for outdoor programs and events.”