116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It’s been more than seven years since Marion began discussing the need to replace its public library, built in 1996. The library’s design made it costly to renovate and update. City leaders decided as new library was needed, but details and funding had to be worked out.
Then came a pandemic and a derecho, which left Marion without a fully-open permanent library. Supply chain delays led to opening delays for the new facility.
But on Nov. 10, the long wait ends. Marion’s new public library will open. And that’s very good news for the community.
Most library services will be available when it opens, including the entire collection of books, access to internet and computers, study and meeting rooms, the kids area, a reading terrace and much of the library’s programming. Technology in meeting rooms, a recording studio and a green screen room will have to wait a little longer. The library offers a 3D printer and an indoor playground.
So most of the library’s functions as community center, technology hub and repository for books and other materials will finally be open to the public.
“I think this library will be a model for all libraries in the future. It’s no longer a warehouse for books but an active place for all types of learning and backgrounds and socioeconomic levels and the library is a place where community happens,” Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly told The Gazette’s Gage Miskimen during a recent tour of the facility.
The library opening is one big step in Marion’s efforts to pump new energy into its uptown district. But it’s not the only one.
The community is also celebrating the completion of a two-year streetscape project along historic Seventh Avenue.
Seventh Avenue was reconstructed along with and sidewalks, underground utilities, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water main, work extending along side streets between Eighth and 12th Streets and Sixth and Eighth Avenue. Marion has also completed a plaza on 11th Street adjacent to the Uptown Artway. The plaza is decoratively lit by string lights.
Up next for Marion are ambitious efforts to revitalize City Square Park. With all of these successes, we’re anxious to see what the city does for an encore.
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