Perth/Dupont library could make new home in 10,000 sqft space

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Working with Librarian Carmen Martino and Library Admin Staff, area residents, local developers and others we have been able to secure a commitment to increase the size of this neighbourhood branch by 4 times!

 

By Lisa Rainford

Originally Posted in Bloor West Villager

If all goes as planned, the Perth/Dupont library will get a new and much larger home at the corner of Campbell Avenue and Dupont Street.

The goal is to move the library from its current location at 1589 Dupont St., just west of Perth Avenue, to a 10,000 square-foot space at 299 Campbell Ave., owned by Tas, a developer that is proposing a condominium building currently in pre-construction.

The library project is now making its way through city channels, according to Kevin Putnam, co-founder of the Junction Triangle Library Expansion Committee, which first came together in December 2010. The proposal will go to city council for final approval later this month, he said.

“The library will go from one of the smallest branches in the system to a full-size 10,000 to 15,000 square-foot space,” Putnam told The Villager.

The Perth/Dupont library has been ranked as one of the city’s lowest circulation branches, however, there are waiting lists for almost every program. Those who frequent the library know it’s overcrowded. And so, as the city contemplated closing libraries in response to an independent consulting company’s report a few years ago, Junction Triangle residents rallied to create a public-private partnership to fund an expansion of their branch.

“Residents came together and worked with the councillor, who worked with the developer,” said Putnam, crediting Davenport Councillor Ana Bailao, who secured $1 million in Section 37 funding (money allocated for community use by developers), specifically from an impending condominium development on Lansdowne Avenue.

Mazyar Mortazavi, president and CEO of Tas, attended Perth/Dupont library’s 30th anniversary event and was inspired to get involved in the project.

“For us, it’s part of our DNA, to be community builders first,” Mortazavi said. “Our general process, when we’re doing one of our properties, is we connect with the councillor and the neighbourhood.”

Tas has agreed to sell the space to the library board for $1 million – even though it’s worth $3 million, Putnam said. And, that money has already been allocated through Section 37 funds. The remainder of the money needed to finish the interior will be made through the sale of the old library, he said, with the entire process will likely take three to four years.

“We’re pretty darn excited,” Putnam said.

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