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Commerce Central Library Project Receives Much Needed Funds

By Tammye McDuff

Beatriz Sarmiento, Director of Library Services for the City of Commerce announced that the main library is now open to the public even though some renovations are still underway. Sarmiento also advised the Council approximately one month ago, the Library Administration Staff discovered a file from 2007 that contained documentation of misplaced donation monies for the library.

What was uncovered was a standing donation of $53,700.00.

The library renovation began in 2008, but due to a lack of finances had a series of postponements. With the many stops and starts to the project design, these monies had been all but forgotten. Sarmiento contacted Vilko Domic, Director of Finance who confirmed these monies were still available for renovations.

“We are beginning to see new and various areas within the main library, that will need reconstruction,” noted Sarmiento, “the current room that houses vending machines will be redesigned as the Local History Room and will no longer be necessary. Now that we are going to have an outdoor plaza for the public, we are looking into a type of coffee cart or something similar. I would like to put some of these newly found monies toward this.”

Sarmiento continued to state there are several other unanticipated needs that will enhance the libraries services to the public, where these monies could be allocated. With the $25,000 contribution from the Commerce Casino, Sarmiento also suggested to move forward with the implementation of a video wall within the Local History Room.

A portion of these monies would also be used to design a donor wall. This wall will recycle the old card catalog and place it at the entrance of the library in a prominent position. Sarmiento requested the library be able to use small wall plaques to denote businesses that have already contributed to the reconstruction and renovations of the library saying it is a nice way to show gratitude for contributions. Donors of the original $53k were awarded Certificates of Recognition for their donations in 2007 – 2008.

Lilia R. Leon, Mayor pro tem also commented, “I had the opportunity to be one of the first in the library and although you have not expanded the footage, it looks like it has tripled in size. The thought process that went into everything and everyone involved is just excellent.”

Included in the original estimate for redesign is the Council Chambers main lobby area. Del Rio inquired as to the finish date for the lobby. The plan for the foyer has not been decided upon, thus has not been brought before Council for approval. Del Rio commented, “it looks terrible.”

Measure AA funds have been approved and allotted for exterior renovations and should be completed in time for the January 24, 2015 grand re-opening and celebration.