Bay Library Looks at Move to Huntington Playhouse Locale

DSC_7935-1Should the Bay Village Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library move to the former Huntington Playhouse in the Huntington Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks?

That is the subject of preliminary conversation now that the Playhouse has closed as of last year.

The talks came up at a meeting of Metroparks Board last week.

Although talks are in the speculative stage, such a move would create a model similar to that followed by both BayARTS and the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center. They are both private, nonprofit organizations that work with the Metroparks as partners or affiliates.

Such a move would bring obvious advantages in adding community value to Huntington Reservation’s presence as an educational campus.

There are, however, many questions as well. Community questions appearing on the public facebook site Secret Bay Village exacerbate anxiety over comprised green space, questions of security jurisdiction and cost.

One resident writes: “On the surface, eliminating this green space in the Metro Park near the Science Center would be unfortunate. The traffic flow and existing parking in the area is highly problematic. Before passing judgement I’m interested to see how the plan addresses these issues. Meanwhile it’s important to the long term health of the Bayarts campus and Metro Parks to infuse the playhouse structure with a viable, complementary use whether it be community theatre / performance education or some other creative venture. In other words if you are a concerned, engaged citizen it would be a great time to get involved.”

Another says, “Seems it would be more difficult for the kids to get to it, parking will be difficult during the summer, and I don’t like my younger kids going to Huntington by themselves when it’s busy…. The Library is currently in a safe spot and easily accessible by bike. Huntington not so much. And why fill up the park with buildings… Why not create more green space for people to enjoy?”

A teacher writes: “A new library would be wonderful for Bay Village! As a teacher, I am all for encouraging literacy! A new, updated building and beautiful environment will be perfect. I can picture families sitting outside, reading books and having a picnic! Look at this new library location as a positive!”

A here is a fourth perspective: “The library is located right next to the school, and some kids go there after school because there are no parents at home until 5 or 6 PM. I think to move the library to Huntington would be a waste of money and an infringement on the park setting. Not long ago they wanted to build a new school at Cahoon Park, which would have also taken away from the park setting, and violate the original purpose that the Cahoon’s intended when they donated the land to the village. I agree with….with the use of the online system you can get available materials from any library in the CCPL system, as well as through Search Ohio. Our libraries are always crying for more money, but I see so much waste with the quantities of popular materials ordered, that end up in the book sale a short time later, for $1.00. The building was renovated not that long ago and it is just fine. I have heard many people comment that they love the Bay Library Branch because it is quaint and smaller than some of the other branches. Why do we need to impose on the park?”

Rick Haase, Director of Communications, Cleveland Metroparks, confirms that a full dialogue will address the possibilities of the move. “From our perspective, at this time there is still a great deal of discussion that needs to take place before any decisions are made,” he says. “That is why we held the recent work session on Thursday, March 24 with library officials to continue the dialogue, and keep the lines of communication open. Cleveland Metroparks is committed to a full vetting process for this possible project, including a component for public comment and input.”

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