Rochester library scaffolding could be coming down soon, if Mother Nature plays nicely
A clear path to the Rochester Public Library's front door is expected "soonish" as exterior work prepares to transition to the next phase.
When will the entryway to the Rochester Public Library be accessible again? It seems like the scaffolding has been up forever and the handicapped parking spots are too far away for a disabled person.
– Jeri Sehl
As soon as I received your question, I started looking into it with little hope.
As I pointed out in my January column on the topic , Mother Nature is playing a big part in the timing, and she hasn't been talking to me these days.
On Wednesday, the clearest prediction was that the scaffolding might start disappearing by mid-April.
Then, on Thursday morning, one of my minions sent me notice that the dismantling had started and already reached social media.
"Clearly we just had to talk it into existence," wrote Jeremiah Baumann, the library’s head of marketing and community engagement.
The day before he had exchanged messages with my helper and said the contractor is moving work to the west side of the building, along First Avenue Southeast, so most — if not all — of the scaffolding could be removed.
The timeline, however, was a mystery and dependent on weather conditions.
Evidently, Mother Nature's fickleness was in the library's favor this week.
The work that started in August has been troubling for library patrons and staff, and Library Director Karen Lemke has repeatedly said her staff would like nothing more than to see the scaffolding tunnel go away.
While it has blocked parking spaces and created accessibility concerns, it has also left staff reponding to calls from residents who have questioned whether the doors were even open behind the construction.
She said the scaffolding's removal will "send that non-verbal message that we are definitely, definitely open" as the library works to bounce back from COVID pressures.
It'll be good to see easy access to the library's front door return, and hopefully that will encourage more residents to visit and seek their own answers.
With the change happening on Thursday, I'm just hoping it's not some sort of elaborate April Fool's joke that will see new scaffolding go up today.
Not even Mother Nature would be that cruel.
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