Cedar Rapids breaks ground on downtown library - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids breaks ground on downtown library

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Trips to the library for the Foreman family of Cedar Rapids have been few and far between ever since 2008.

"We just had to think about it and make a special trip just because we are on the Southeast side," said Amy Foreman, mother of three.

The flood waters that poured through downtown displaced the library to its temporary location inside Westdale mall on the city's western edge

"The libraries in Marion and Hiawatha really stood in the breech for us and really took a lot of that demand that we normally would have covered on that side of the community," said Bob Pasicznyuk, the library's director.

While off the beaten path, the temporary location has confirmed the community's desire for a main library, seeing a circulation of 800,000 this past year, making it one of the busiest libraries in the state.

"This really shows us the kind of demand there is for the library," Pasicznyuk said.

Now that demand is ready to be met.

It hasn't been an easy road getting to this point.  First, it was a long debate about where the library should be located.  Then, it was unexpected asbestos removal.  Finally, Saturday, the community of Cedar Rapids took a major step forward in flood recovery.

City leaders put the problems of the past behind them, turning dirt on a brand new 95 thousand square foot library to be equipped with increased technology, meting spaces, and a large children's library on the first floor

"It just looks really neat and different from other libraries so I think it will be fun," said Jackie Brock of Cedar Rapids.

For families like the Foreman's, the library's return to downtown is a sign their city is on its way back.

They, like many others, plan on making it a point to take advantage of the downtown location more regularly.

"The community has put forth a lot of effort to get this together, and it should bring the community together," said Amy Foreman.

The new library is expected to open in the summer of 2013.

The total project costs $45 million, with $4 million coming from the city.

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