Urbana Free Library raising funds to replace porches

Urbana Free Library raising funds to replace porches

URBANA — As the Urbana Free Library marks a century since its facility's construction, its front porch on Race Street, closed in June, remains off limits.

But the library's foundation hopes to do something about it.

The porches along Race Street were shuttered after a small section of the south porch gave way when a contractor on a ladder was installing window awnings. No one was hurt, but public access to both porches was immediately blocked with street barricades and police tape, according to foundation board member Mike Monson.

The library hired a structural engineer who determined that the porch floors need complete replacement, said Celeste Choate, the library's executive director.

"The rebar inside the concrete is falling apart due to the freeze-and-thaw cycle," said Choate. "It's 100 years old."

After learning of the costs, the library decided to dedicate its annual fund drive to replace the north and south porch floors.

The library building was designed by Urbana architect Joseph Royer, who also served as architect for Urbana High School, the Champaign County Courthouse, the Urbana Lincoln Hotel and the Douglas County Courthouse.

Anyone interested in donating to the library foundation's annual fund drive should go online to urbanafreelibrary.org.

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