Mark Feb. 24, 2011, on your calendar: That’s the tentative date for the grand opening of the reclaimed Mason Square branch library.
After interminable, and unconscionable, delays, it looks like the Springfield Urban League—which in 2003 bought the building that once housed the neighborhood library—is finally, finally moving out of the building at 765 State St., more than a year after it was taken by eminent domain by the Springfield City Council. According to an update sent last week to interested parties by City Solicitor Ed Pikula, the Urban League’s move to a new spot on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College “is on target to be accomplished by Nov. 15 as promised.
“I personally met with Henry Thomas on Tuesday Nov. 2 and discussed the matter. He confirmed that their phones will be shut down and transferred to the STCC location for next weekend,” Pikula continued.
Still to be settled is the issue of “use and occupancy” payments owed the city by the Urban League for its continued use of the building after the eminent domain taking.
Once the Urban League moves out, the building will undergo some renovation work for its return to library use. City Library Director Molly Fogarty expects a soft opening on Jan. 26, with an official celebratory opening a month later.
While the projected Nov. 15 move date is promising, the City Council—no doubt conscious of the slowness with which the Urban League has gone about vacating the space—apparently is taking no chances. At their meeting tonight, councilors will vote on a previously postponed order of eviction, to “safeguard,” as Council President Jose Tosado put it, that the agency does, indeed, leave as promised.