Every 12 Decades, Hennepin County Library Pieces plan to renovate

As the Hennepin County Library system nears the 10-year anniversary of its merger with Minneapolis town libraries, officials are taking a look at a new means of deciding whether to revamp the system buildings.

The 2008 merger fostered the amount of libraries from the Hennepin system from 26 to 41, making it the state’s largest. Ever since that time, the county has had the objective of updating its libraries each every 12 decades.

But library leaders advised the County Board that it might be time for you to change this policy.

Renovating libraries dependent on the use of the buildingeach 12 decades, could be possibly less expensive and more effective with time, they said. It may guarantee that patrons receive the same experience no matter which library they visit, into the outer-ring suburbs from downtown Minneapolis.

“We simply had to put ourselves onto a schedule; it was a good first step,” said Lois Langer Thompson, the library system’s director. “However, is that the best way? It took us that long to comprehend how the buildings have been used.”

Star Tribune, GLEN STUBBE

The new library in Brooklyn Park has a Viking ship-themed bicycle rack outside.

In June, the County Board directed library officials to come up with standards for a plan about how best to ascertain which libraries should be renovated and develop this strategy. Library officials will report on which libraries must be following up for a makeover and how library use will be evaluated by them.

Hennepin County is currently among the greatest library systems within the United States, serving 1.19 million individuals. On a per capita basis, Hennepin has the third-most novels — 4.2 million — as well as also the fourth-most library branches in the country. It has an yearly budget of $83.9 million.

People are going to libraries to check out books. In 2016, according to the library, there were 2.2 million downloads of novels, music and movies — up from 1.5 million downloads in 2014 — and almost 23,000 reservations for meeting rooms.

The Minneapolis Central Library in downtown even has a full-time social worker, helping connect homeless visitors to sources.

“Libraries are changing,” Thompson explained. “They are different type of spaces. We would like to be able to reply to that as well.”

Even though the merger with the Minneapolis system was controversial at the moment, it has helped the county renovate and reopen libraries. The county’s libraries span 124 decades, by the oldest, Pierre Bottineau in Minneapolis, built in 1893, to the newest, Webber Park, that opened in May.

Of the program’s 41 libraries, the ones that receive the most visits have been Minneapolis Central, that had more than 1 million visits in 2016; Brookdale, Brooklyn Center (422,171 visits); Southdale, Edina (303,316 visits); Ridgedale, Minnetonka (297,024 visits), and Maple Grove (259,246 visits).

“we would like to keep moving our libraries from the future and maintain meeting the community needs,” Thompson explained. “I’m genuinely excited about the opportunity this will provide us.”

Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune
North Minneapolis’ Webber Park branch opened in May.

Purchasing Here: the Ligonier home Match for empty nesters or a family of Interior designer Gil Walsh

If village lifestyle is what you crave Ligonier is the place. This charming New England-style hamlet one hour from Downtown has become a sanctuary for Pittsburgh’s captains.

Interior designer Gil Walsh, who grew up in Latrobe and went to college from Ligonier, has called the place home for much of her lifetime. She and her husband Mason, the former manager of the Mellon Foundation, have put their three-bedroom, two1/2-bath house at 215 W. Church St. on the market for $550,000 together with Scott Ludwick of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (724-838-3660 ext. 648 or even www.thepreferredrealty.com).

Even the 2-year-old, 3,500-square-foot house (MLS No. 1228974) was the couple’s variation of downsizing.

“We lived in a huge farmhouse, but when he murdered we determined we didn’t want such a large home,” explained Mrs. Walsh, who also has a house in West Palm Beach, Fla., where her design firm is headquartered.

Believing they could live out their golden years part time in Ligonier, she thought out every detail of the home, starting with its own location. The two-story house with a front porch that is covered is a short walk in the Diamond at the middle of town.

“It is a great downtown neighborhood and developing,” she explained. “It is just cute.”  

They looked for an current house but nothing met of their requirements. They purchased a lot in this development of townhomes that were detached and started planning a house that match their fact — she’s not ready to retire and he murdered.

Along with some first-floor master suite, a bonus room is above the garage. “I turned that into an office space, but it could be changed into anything.”

“I’d say my furniture is very conventional, but I made this house to be somewhat adaptable so that someone who prefers contemporary or transitional could quickly make that change,” she explained.

Mrs. Walsh enclosed the sun porch and she said it could easily be transformed into a breakfast nook. An additional tweak she left into the aims of the builder was to increase the dimensions of their master suite to include more closet space and a bigger bathroom.

“When we got older, we discovered we didn’t use our living space that far. So in this house, the living room and dining room are combined to more of a salon setting,” she explained.

“Believe it or not, as people get older they need to sit in chairs around a dining table and have beverages,” she explained with a laugh.    

That same thinking went to the kitchen, which boasts granite counter tops tops, high-end cabinets that reach into the ceiling, crown molding and a huge center island that can chair six.The kitchen opens into the family room with a rock fireplace and built in bookshelves.

“Mason and I utilized the island often,” she explained.

They worked together with Manor House Kitchens because she wanted up to cupboard space as possible. Bar stools encircle the island, and it has a concealed cabinet.

“Being an interior designer, we are apt to amass a whole lot,” Mrs. Walsh explained.

Appliances include a Wolf gas stove with warming drawers plus a Sub-Zero refrigerator.   Signs of grade are marble baths, a stairwell that is paneled, hardwood floors and crown molding in many rooms.

The second floor includes two bedrooms plus a bathroom that will accommodate a growing family. The side yard was turned in an urban backyard and the yard is fenced, making it fine for pets and children.  

The finished basement has storage space.   “This house has so much storage. I built all,” said the designer.

With customers in Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, she said her interior design company that was developing is why they are currently moving. They desired a central site.

“The method by which in which the house is laid out, it works for a young family or empty nesters,” she explained.

Patricia Sheridan: psheridan@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2613, Twitter: @pasheridan.

Ligonier Borough at a glance

Inside out: History runs deep at Ligonier, to 1758. The flag of Britain’s King George was flying across the post at Loyalhanna about Nov. 12, when Col. George Washington led a detachment of 500 soldiers out to the field. Thirty-eight guys died from friendly fire by troops under Col. George Mercer at what became Fort Ligonier. The fort contains artifacts and history in the French and Indian War.

Even the borough has only 1,540 residents, who enjoy Idlewild Park and Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Locals flock into the Ligonier Market and the Diamond in the middle of town for classrooms that are free.

The town is still strongly connected with the Mellon family, which owns tracts of property. Unspoiled by development, the place is beautiful in all four seasons.

Enrollment: 2,700; levels 10-12 can attend to the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in Derry, which offers education in health care, culinary, construction and digital media.

Average SAT scores: Reading, 531; Math 549; Composing, 496

Taxes for 215 W. Church St., Unit 3: $8,120.62

Borough: $1,607.20 (23.5 mills)

School: $5,136.48 (75 mills)

County: $1,376.94 (20.99 mills)

Earned income tax: 1 percentage