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Big changes at Library

The Carnegie side of the library is now on display, since hedges were removed. Brian Basham/DL NEWSPAPERS

Anyone passing the Detroit Lakes Library in the last few weeks has noticed some major changes to the landscape. For one, you can now see the Carnegie portion of the library better with all the shrubs removed.

Secondly, the sidewalk on the west side of the building is being reconstructed.

The purpose of the project is to correct the ground around the foundation of the library. When the addition was built in 1988, pavers were laid along the building. Over time, some of those pavers settled, and water was being directed into the library.

“We’re having some issues with flooding in the newer part of the library,” Librarian Mary Haney said. “When we would get a hard rain, the water would drain into the library.”

The city, which owns and maintains the building, looked at the problem and decided to remedy it this fall before it does major damage to the foundation and the inside of the building.

Haney said that inside the new part, the carpeting is in squares, so it was easier to clean up the wet squares — or replace them if needed — than if it had been one large piece of carpet.

“The staff has been very diligent about drying them out when we would have rain,” she said.

The pavers were removed in October in preparation of the new landscaping, and two weekends Detroit Lakes experienced heavy rain. Well, the library experienced heavier flooding than usual, too. In the back, near the adult fiction section, the flooring got quite wet.

“The staff would get out the shop vac and vacuum up the water and then put up fans to dry it out as soon as we could. We don’t want mold in the building.”

To fix the problem, crews have poured a concrete apron along the foundation, slanting it so that rain will run away from the building and not into it.

With the re-grading work, the library also removed all the shrubs on the property — the most noticeable change for visitors or passersby.

“The hedge has done its job,” Haney said. “When they built the addition, they had to get traffic to flow a different direction. People were used to going in the original entryway.”

There were sidewalks that led from the street up to the front of the Carnegie portion of the building, but after the new addition was in place, the sidewalks were removed and hedges put in to direct foot traffic to the west.

“It worked fine, but a generation later, we don’t need to do that anymore,” she added.

Though the hedges were taken out, the city will be adding some trees to the grounds. Some smaller trees will be replanted in the front of the building and to the west of the building.

There will also be a flowerbed around the front of the building and a patio area with benches and a picnic table.

“It’s going to be really nice — once we get the landscaping done,” she said.

There is an architectural drawing on display at the library that shows what the property will look like when it’s completed. Anyone is welcome to stop in and see it.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.

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