Urbana library purchases lot, plans to ‘beautify the city’


Wren Wheeling

The second annual Comic Con is taking place August 5 at the Urbana Free Library. The events, running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., are open to all ages.

By Wren Wheeling, Contributing Writer

Thanks to several citizen donations,  the Urbana Free Library will have a new landscaped entry built on a vacant lot at Race and Green streets in downtown Urbana.

The lot was previously home to the Auler Law Office building, which was torn down in 2015. The space is now empty and provides a clear street view of the 100-year-old library, located at 210 West Green St.

The new entry is an improvement that many locals desire, said Robin Switzer, president of the Urbana Free Library Foundation. After the old law office building was torn down and the new view came to be, he said, “there was such a strong public reaction. It would really just be a great enhancement to the building.”

Switzer explained that this project is for the people of Urbana, not just the library.

“We will beautify the city,” he said. “It actually is a gift to the whole community.”

This is a change that community members have come together to create. A fund drive held by the Library Foundation in November allowed the community to raise money for the cause.

The owners of the library, the Library Foundation and representatives of Persistence of Illinois signed a purchase agreement for $115,000 in May. The deed will go to the library on June 30 without delay.

The community has done a lot for this cause, but much more still needs to be achieved.

‘The foundation will still be seeking funds,” Switzer says. “There will still be a significant cost in the landscaping part of the project.”

Donations can be made through the library’s website or as a check mailed directly to the library.

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Editor’s note: Robert Auler of Auler Law was a columnist at The Daily Illini. He graduated from the University in 1966.