Greenville Library expanding lot, adding entrance

Greenville Library expanding lot, adding entrance

Expansion of the Greenville Library parking lot would include an additional 55 spaces to reach town standards, and a new entrance on Route 116, at 9 Pleasant Valley Ave.
Pleasant View Ave. home to be razed

SMITHFIELD – Work to expand the parking lot and revamp the traffic flow in and out of the Greenville Public Library, 573 Putnam Pike, is expected to begin within two weeks.

A new entrance and exit will be added off Rte. 116 at 9 Pleasant View Ave., where an existing home will be demolished. Greenville Library Director Dorothy Swain said the library purchased the property in 2011 in anticipation of the parking lot expansion.

The library, which has an occupancy of 201 people, needs 94 spaces to comply with town standards. The lot currently has 43 spaces, which can get crowded, according to Swain.

“There are times here (that) parking is very, very tight, especially when we have multiple events, and we’d like to enhance access and safety, especially in case of a fire event,” she said. “Those are two reasons why we’re doing this.”

The new lot will fit 98 vehicles, moving handicapped spaces to the front and right of the building, and saving a “Central Park-like” island to save valued sequoia and dogwood trees in front of the entrance. A colored, raised walkway to the entrance will enhance safety for pedestrians entering the building.

“I’ll attach myself to the sequoia before someone (tries) to remove that tree,” Swain said, adding the library is sensitive to the environment and protecting the trees.

But, at least 100 trees will need to be removed to create the additional parking space. New trees will be planted upon project completion, but Swain said it will be fewer than 100.

The Champlin Foundation funded the $700,000 project on the condition that the library pay for razing the home on Pleasant View, scheduled for this month, Swain said. In February of last year, resident Kristen LaTour died due to carbon monoxide poisoning in the home, but her husband and three children, who were present in the home at the time, survived. No one lives in the home, as the Smithfield building official deemed it uninhabitable after the LaTour family incident, according to Swain.

The original parking lot will remain mostly intact, expanding the back lot to create a horseshoe-shaped lot with new parking spaces to the left of the library building, and an additional lot on the eastern end toward Spring Street.

“The town and administrators have been very supportive of this project, I can’t thank the Town Council enough,” Swain said.

Contractor bidding is set to begin soon. A groundbreaking is tentatively set for August or September, and Swain said the lot should be complete by next spring, with planting in April.

Swain said she does not anticipate the need to close the library during construction, but will if needed. Trucks will use the new Rte. 116 entrance to create minimal disturbance to the library, she added.

In anticipation of questions from resident, Swain said the library will include information on the construction in its newsletter, and add signage out front.