Robert Switzer, President of The Urbana Free Library Foundation
For Immediate Release – June 3, 2017
The Urbana Free Library will gain a landscaped south entryway as a result of purchase of a vacant lot at Race and Green streets in downtown Urbana.
A purchase agreement for $115,000 was signed in May by representatives of Persistence of Illinois, the owners, and the Library Foundation, one of the Library’s charitable fund-raising arms. Closing is set for June 30. The deed will go directly to the Library.
The entire purchase price is covered by citizen donations to the Foundation. A November annual fund drive letter specifically asked for donations to pay for purchasing the lot.
"Making this vacant lot into a beautiful, landscaped entryway to the library is something I and lot of other Urbana residents have wanted to see for a long time," Mayor Diane Marlin said. "Now it's going to happen, thanks to the generosity of residents and hard work of The Urbana Free Library Foundation.
“It shows you what we can achieve in Urbana if we work together,” she said.
The lot at 202 W. Green St. was the site of the former Auler Law Office building, which was demolished in 2015, opening up a full view from the street of the historic library building, which was designed by architect Joseph Royer and will be 100 years old next summer.
"When the Auler Building was razed, an opportunity was provided for a beautiful improvement of the Library's south entrance and of a prominent corner of downtown Urbana,” Foundation President Bob Switzer said.
“Citizens urged the Library Foundation to buy the lot and provided strong and generous support to do it,” Switzer said.
Library Board President Chris Scherer said, “We are so pleased to announce this expansion of the Library campus. We are most grateful to the individuals who have contributed or who plan to give to this Library enhancement project.”
The Library Foundation plans a fund-raising drive for the landscaping and other Library needs. Donations can be made online at http://urbanafreelibrary.org/support-us/donate-now, in person, or mailed to the Library.