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More Parking in Columbia
At the June board meeting, the Daniel Boone Regional Library (DBRL) trustees voted to purchase property in Columbia at the corner of Garth Ave. and Walnut St., next to the water tower. The land will be used for a new employee parking lot for the Columbia Public Library, making 42-44 more spaces available for patron parking.
This opportunity comes to DBRL at a time when the Columbia Public Library is busier than ever, averaging more than 2,000 visits per day. That’s nearly a 50 percent increase over the last five years. On June 8, the first day of Summer Reading, we recorded 3,200 visits and the Circulation Department processed 67 percent more items than is typical for a Monday.
In 2000, when the library decided to remain at the current downtown site, after much deliberation and public input, we knew that lack of additional land for parking would be one of the challenges we would face. And, indeed, this is one of the top complaints we hear from our patrons.
In the fall of 2008, we made some changes to the south parking lot to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, and we have tried to remind our patrons of the north parking lot where there are 104 spaces for patrons and our staff. The new lot will shift employee parking from the existing lot, making more room for the public.
The construction time frame hinges on the time it takes for the bidding process and acquisition of the appropriate city permits, but we hope to begin work on the lot this fall.