By Emilie St. John
INGLEWOOD — The city is preparing to reopen the Morningside Park Library as renovations to the Inglewood Main Library begin to take shape.
The city approved an agreement with KG Axis Inc. to renovate the building, which was donated by Raymond V. and Ivey B. Darby. The total contract award is nearly $2.2 million.
The funding will come from the city’s general fund reserves.
A review of the Library Board’s meeting minutes from its April 26 meeting indicate the library, located in District 1, will reopen with books from the Main Library being moved there for the public’s use.
“The construction manager and architect will work on preconstruction, which can take 12 to 15 months,” Deputy City Manager Harjinder Singh said. “The construction will take about 14 months when the public cannot access the building. At that time, Crenshaw and Morningside Branch libraries will be open, having a complete collection on each side with digital library and electronic books.
“They will continue to provide good services and address public needs. In addition, the city is working on a Library van, which will allow us to do pop-up libraries.”
Library Board Chairwoman Patt Sanders asked how the $40 million price tag for the renovations at the Main Library will be paid for and how the $2.7 million library grant from the state will factor into the costs.
“We received a building forward grant of $2.7 million, which can only be used on hard construction costs and the seismic retrofit portion,” Singh said. “The initial money that will be used to pick up the architect and the construction manager is a combination of the general fund, which will start off the money and then reimburse the general fund from the Ballmer group.”
Steve Ballmer is the principal of Murphy’s Bowl LLC, which is building the Intuit Dome, an NBA arena for the Los Angeles Clippers across from SoFi Stadium.
Ballmer pledged a $100 million community benefits package to the city, which, according to Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr., doesn’t kick in until the project receives its certificate of occupancy.
The benefit package includes $6 million towards the library, $3 million for emergency support to residents, and earmarks for affordable housing initiatives and nearly $13 million for after-school programs, scholarships and other incentives for students attending schools in the Inglewood Unified School District.
The package also includes nearly $81 million for housing programs for renters support, first-time homebuyers and $3 million in emergency support for residents. There is also $250,000 set aside for capacity building for housing-focused nonprofits.
The city has not indicated when the certificate of occupancy will be issued which will trigger the release of the funds in the benefits package. The Intuit Dome is projected to open in 2024 in time for the 2024-25 NBA season.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.