- The glass on the escalator-side will change from this, but an escalator will be built. (Courtesy of the Lukemire Partnership, Inc.)
More updates on the over-budget Silver Spring Library just came out today, and it seems there may be some county council support for that failed pedestrian bridge proposal
The bridge in question would link the Wayne Avenue Garage to the third-floor library entrance. The library will include a disability resource center and only one county councilman voted last year in favor of the bridge. But now Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D- Dist. 5) says she supports the bridge.
"My understanding is a lot of them were looking to see what I will do," she said of other councilmembers during a committee hearing today. "I don’t believe this will go down in defeat this time."
A fight will still have to be waged among some local residents to get backing on the bridge design. For instance, the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association voted just a couple of weeks ago against sending a letter of support for the bridge. Opponents say the bridge would discourage street-level activity, particularly along the much-needed Fenton Street side.
If constructed, Wayne Avenue Garage's handicapped spots will be moved next to the bridge.
But the bridge could cost $800,000 to $1 million, and given the library project is already $3 million over budget, the decision may end up being less about access and more about money.
The Department of General Services has been searching for ways to bring the building within its $34 million budget. Today, department director David Dise said that cost-cutting options include eliminating the sixth floor, which is currently intended to house county offices. Also, Dise and his team are hoping that the current construction market holds and that the construction bids will come back 10 to 15 percent below market rate, a savings of nearly $2.5 to $3 million.
The basic design of the library will remain unchanged, but planners have already made some slight, cost-saving alterations, such as using a different type of glass finish on the Fenton Street side and reducing the ceiling height from 20 to 18 feet.
But no reduction in space will be made to the library itself, meant to occupy five floors of the six to seven-story building, Dise promised. Also, the much-desired escalator and dedicated space to be leased to Pyramid Atlantic are both safe, Dise said.