Story by Joshua Porter
Submitted on Wed, 05/14/2008 – 21:40.
The historic Goldblatt’s Building at the corner of Chicago and Ashland avenues may be the site of a new West Town branch library, according to a key community leader.
The new West Town Library would move into the Goldblatt’s building at 1635 W. Chicago Ave. and would act as a branch library serving the residents of West Town neighborhoods such as the Ukrainian Village and the East Village.
Currently, the Goldblatt’s Building is home to a number of city agencies. The city’s Department of Consumer Services, the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the West Town Senior Satellite Center are located in the Goldblatt’s building; according to Bilton one of these agencies would be re-located to make room for the new library.
Bilton has been working with other neighborhood organizations for the past 2 years in an attempt to urge the city to build a branch library for the community. Bilton said that the “the community here needs a library.”
“This is an optimal space for the West Town library. The space is 20,000 square feet, which is about 5,000 square feet larger than the new Bucktown-Wicker Park library,” said Bilton. “The space at Goldblatt’s is already equipped with adequate lighting and electrical outlets.”
However, the space at Goldblatt’s was not the first choice for the library. The city was looking at purchasing a piece of land at 1830 W. Chicago Ave. that is currently home to AAA Distributing Co.; however, those plans broke off when the city could not agree to a buying price for the property and the space at the Goldblatt’s building became available.
Chicago Public Library Press Secretary Margaret Killackey-Jurgensen said, “We are in conversation with the alderman and community organizations about the possibilities of a West Town Branch.”
Jurgensen would not confirm the report that the new library would be in the Goldblatt’s building.
Last fall, the City Council passed an increase on property taxes; the 2008 budget will bring in $ 83.4 million in property taxes, and Mayor Richard M. Daley has said this additional revenue will be used to build libraries.
Daley has repeatedly emphasized the importance of library construction and renovation. Since 1990, he has built 52 new libraries throughout the city. The city and the Chicago Public Library Foundation have implemented the CPL 2010 plan, devised by the city and the consulting work of the Boston Consulting Group.
The Goldblatt’s Building was once home to the Goldblatt brothers’ department store. The building was constructed between 1921 and 1928. The building was designated a city landmark in 1998, and a renovation was done to the building by the Public Building Commission of Chicago.
City Life Public West Side
caps goldblatt’s library ukrainian village west town