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City, Solon celebrates library groundbreaking

City, Solon celebrates library groundbreaking
The groundbreaking of the new Cedar Springs Library took place Saturday, July 9 at the corner of Main Street and W. Maple. Photo by J. Reed.

The groundbreaking of the new Cedar Springs Library took place Saturday, July 9 at the corner of Main Street and W. Maple. Photo by J. Reed.

Library Director Donna Clark was one of several speakers at Saturday’s event. Photo by J. Reed.

Library Director Donna Clark was one of several speakers at Saturday’s event. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Residents, community groups, and city and township officials from Cedar Springs and Solon Township came together Saturday, July 9, to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Cedar Springs Library at the corner of Main and W. Maple Street.

Many local officials were on hand for the ceremony, including (but not limited to) Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma, interim Cedar Springs City Manager Barb VanDuren, new City Manager Mike Womack, Mayor Jerry Hall, and Solon Township Supervisor Bob Ellick.

Library board member Tony Owens emceed the event.

The ceremony opened with the pledge of allegiance, led by the American Legion Color Guard. Several officials made remarks, including a passionate speech by Library Director Donna Clark.

“I’m only one, standing on the foundation prepared from the 1800s to this present day by a long line of educators, professionals, town folk, volunteers – enthusiastic people of vision and hope,” remarked Clark.

She pointed out that significant events had taken place in the library’s history both 80 years ago, and 100 years ago.

“It is noteworthy that the Clipper Girls used their printing presses and their enthusiasm to spearhead a millage campaign for stable funding for the Cedar Springs Community Library, and it passed in 1936 during the Depression—80 years ago.”

She also said that 100 years ago, in 1916, the old Congregational Church, which stood on the NE corner of Beech and 2nd Streets, was purchased by the town and was used as a community center for several years. After the building was purchased, a library was established in the tower rooms and Una Hopkins was the first librarian.

And now, 100 years later, in 2016 we are building to move from 2,016 sq ft to a new facility of 10,016 sq ft.

“Our goal is to make the Library a central hub, providing an open environment to enhance access to the world of knowledge through mentoring, networking and collaboration, and to provide quality resources for personal growth and lifelong learning,” said Clark.

She mentioned many of the people who had dreamed of a new library, but did not live to see it happen—Mike and Alice Holton, Jim Charon, Ronny Merlington, Niels and Edna Andersen, Jack Clark, and others. “We thank them for their vision, determination and generosity, so important to us today.”

She also thanked many of the others helping on the project, including members of the Community Building Development Team.

After the speeches, several people from area boards moved dirt with the golden shovels provided by Nugent Builders, the builder on the project.

According to Duane McIntyre, who has volunteered hundreds of hours on the library project, work on the library should start the week of July 25.

The Library is phase 1 of the building of the “Heart of Cedar Springs.”

A concert by Mane Street was held after the groundbreaking, just west of the site, where the new amphitheater is expected to be built in another phase of the project.

To find out ways you can help the Library with fundraising, stop in or give them a call at 696-1910.

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