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Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary A. Dempsey joined invited guests, community leaders and local residents today for the dedication of Chicago Public Library's new Dunning Branch at 7455 W. Cornelia Ave.
"Chicago is the nation’s leader when it comes to building and renovating libraries, and we can all be very proud of that," said Mayor Daley. "I think we’d all agree that it has been money well spent. But we’re not building libraries to attract national attention. We’re building them to strengthen our neighborhoods and to give our residents, young and old, the fullest opportunity for lifelong learning."
The 8,900 square foot environmentally-friendly Dunning Branch replaces the former West Addison Branch which closed in 2009. The new Dunning Branch features a $500,000 opening day collection of books, newspapers and magazines for children, teens and adults.
The collection also includes numerous educational and entertainment DVDs, online research databases and a special collection featuring Polish Heritage. Specific environmentally friendly elements, accounting for sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality were incorporated into the building's design. As a result, the Dunning Branch is anticipating a "Gold" rating under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) U.S. Green Building Council's Rating System.
Additional programs and services at Dunning Branch include 20 computer stations for adults and children with free Internet, free WiFi access, a Summer Reading Program, story times, family programs and holiday celebrations. Adult programs will include book discussions, financial literacy and cultural programs of community interest.
The Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning at its 76 locations by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology.
This is the 57th public library that Mayor Daley has built or fully renovated since taking office in 1989.
Mayor Daley also thanked the residents of the 36th and 38th Wards for their help in moving the City forward and highlighted some of the things the City and residents have accomplished together.
- In addition to the Dunning Branch Library, the City opened the Austin-Irving branch in 2001 and relocated the Galewood-Mont Clare Branch library to Rutherford-Sayre Park.
- We have built one new school, renovated five and created four campus parks in the area. In addition, play lots were added to seven schools.
- As part of the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation, 24 units of public housing have been added in these wards.
- We have made improvements to parks and open space throughout the community including:
- Four new playgrounds at Chopin, Portage, Kolmar and Dunham parks and three new ADA accessible playgrounds at Bell, Hiawatha and Shabbona parks.
- Projects to improve lighting at ballfields were also completed at Shabbona and Chopin parks.
- Wilbur Wright College located in the Portage Park neighborhood has received several sites upgrades such as a parking garage, landscaping and signage enhancements. In addition, to upgrades of the electrical systems, installation of solar water and photo voltaic system for teaching.
- In 2004 the Portage Park Satellite Senior Center was completed providing an array of services to seniors.
- The Chicago Department of Transportation has invested over $6 million in infrastructure on the Northwest side including:
- The arterial resurfacing of Addison Street from Austin Avenue to Natoma Avenue and Narragansett Avenue and Forest Preserve Drive to Diversey Avenue.
- And the North Avenue Median and Streetscape Project from Harlem Avenue to Oak Park Avenue to create a gateway entrance into the City. The scope of work included the installation of a new raised irrigated median that included plantings of trees, shrubs and other native plants. The sidewalks were also reconstructed leaving room for new planted parkways, as well as architectural lighting.
- In addition the Chicago Transit Authority has done major construction work in the area including:
- Signage replaced with current graphic standard station name signs and symbol signs.
- North auxiliary exit improved allowing customers to enter with a valid fare card in addition to the main entrance on the south side of the street. This provided more convenient bus transfers by eliminating the need to cross the busy multi-lane Irving Park Road.
- Renovated and re-opened the Pulaski entrance on the Blue Line.
- We’ve made investment to grow business in this area. There has been more than $25 million in TIF-generated public infrastructure and business improvements in the these communities:
- The development of a 55,000-square-foot industrial warehouse and distribution facility for Eli's Cheesecake. The project created 25 jobs and retained 105.
- A 135,000-square-foot Home Depot at Fullerton and Normandy, where more than 275 jobs were created on the site of a former radar manufacturing plant.
- The redevelopment of 575,000 square feet of retail space at the Brickyard Shopping Center at Diversey and Narragansett. The project replaced Chicago's oldest indoor shopping mall with a modern, multi-building commercial complex that created more than 750 jobs.
- A 26,000 PetSmart store at 6605 W. Grand Ave. employing more than 40 people.
- We have made efforts to expand affordable housing for residents throughout the city. The City of Chicago has provided approximately 473 units of affordable housing in the 36th and 38th wards.
- Police and community partnerships have thrived on the Northwest Side because of several ongoing initiatives with residents, with a focus on young people.
Thank you for participating in the process. Thank you for your ideas, your input and your time. Working together we’ve brought Chicago into the 21st century, and given it a bright future. It’s been a joy and an honor to be your Mayor.