Fremont City Auditorium will be closed to the public starting at the end of June.
That’s when Keene Memorial Library, which will undergo construction, is expected to begin moving into the auditorium, where it will relocate temporarily.
The official date when the library must be moved out of its building has been pushed back to July 18 or Aug. 5 — however the exact date could come sooner, pending the contractor’s request.
Members of the Fremont Parks and Recreation Advisory Board learned about these dates at their Monday night meeting. They talked about letting the library also use a nearby city-owned house for storage and plans for a new marquee for the auditorium.
A $9.4 million expansion and remodeling project is planned for the library with construction time estimated to take about a year-and-a-half.
During construction, the library will operate out of the city auditorium. The historic auditorium underwent a $3.87 million renovation and had a grand reopening in April 2021.
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Nick Hansen, parks and recreation director, also told the parks board that the library has asked if it could store books and materials in climate controlled areas.
Materials could be stored behind the stage in the city auditorium and in a house west of the library. The house was scheduled to be demolished, but if the library could be assisted, then that building and its garage could remain intact during the time it’s needed.
A walk-through of the house is planned next week to determine if it could work for the library’s purposes. Hansen said the library could help pay for utilities for the house. Members also learned the city’s departments all have the same insurance in case of any vandalism.
Hansen said future plans are to demolish the house and then turn that area into parking space for the auditorium.
Board members also received an update on a new marquee planned for the city auditorium. Plans are to rename the building as the Kim Koski Auditorium with the new marquee to reflect that. Koski, 50, was the parks and recreation director when she died in January 2021.
Hansen said he spoke with Jennifer Dam, director of planning for the city, about the marquee.
Currently, electronic message (digital display) signage is only allowed to be 25 percent of the total sign/marquee, but that could change in upcoming months.
Signage regulations are contained in the city’s Unified Development Code (UDC).
The city is in the process of updating its comprehensive plan and the UDC and – as part of that—the city and its consultant Houseal-Lavigne Associates of Chicago are looking at how signage regulations could be updated.
Thus, the amount of digital signage allowed could be larger in the future.
“That’s something we’re looking at right now, but there have been no proposals to date,” Dam told the Tribune.
Part of the updating work involves presentations and gathering public input.
Dam said plans are to have the comprehensive plan proposed for approval by the Fremont City Council in September and the UDC in November or December.
Hansen advised board members to wait to move forward on marquee plans until after the signage regulations are examined in the late fall.
He said the marquee item will continue to be listed on the parks board agenda.
Regarding pools, Hansen said the parks department continues to wait on suppliers for a compressor for the wave machine at Splash Station and a timer switch for the splash pad at Miller Park.
In the forestry report, Hansen said city workers removed four trees on Broad Street, three on Nye Avenue and two on Military Avenue in May. Some of these trees on the removal list had sustained storm damage.
Hansen commended the two-man crew doing this work for the city along with taking numerous calls from citizens for inspections to determine if trees are healthy, and doing tree trims.
“They’re doing a great job,” Hansen said.
Recreation Superintendent Nate Schwanke said the city’s playgrounds programs’ Tiny Tots and baseball started Monday.
“It’s that fun time of year,” Schwanke said. “Pools are open. We’ve got a really good staff back. A lot of surrounding towns are having issues finding lifeguards. Our kids did a good job of recruiting in the off season. We’ve got kids who are here and want to work.”
Schwanke said the playground program has six leaders.
“The six leaders we have are fantastic,” Schwanke said. “They’ve been doing a great job. It’s been a great start to the season.”
The parks board’s next meeting will start at 7 p.m., Aug. 1 in the Fremont City Municipal building, 400 E. Military Ave. Meetings are open to the public.