In 2019, Wilmette Public Library will break ground on an exciting new outdoor renovation project. Designed to improve overall access to the Library’s entrances, enhance the front lawn with seating and resources to support outdoor events and performances, beautify and expand the native butterfly garden and path, and refresh the Library’s façade, the renovation creates a safe, attractive, open, and sustainable environment to welcome the community to the Library.
The Landscape Master Plan is the culmination of the research, Landscape Committee meetings, public inputs, Village coordination, and site visits that occurred throughout the planning process, beginning in Fall 2017.
The Landscape Committee developed the following list of strategies:
• Reflect the Library’s vibrant identify and programs;
• Support a variety of spaces for individual contemplation and large groups;
• Promote durability and sustainability;
• Welcome the community to an inclusive and visually compelling environment.
The following elements are key design features of the overall scope of the Landscape Master Plan:
The front entry is enhanced by a concrete walkway and a snowmelt system. The new entry walkway is flanked by new benches and bluestone paving. The existing flagpole will remain in its current location and be enhanced with new landscaping. The ‘Reading Statue’ is relocated to the front door, welcoming visitors as they arrive.
The central open lawn supports events and performances. Varieties of seating surround the lawn, including traditional benches, movable tables & chairs, a custom reading bench, and playful seating pebbles. The furnishings are enhanced with bluestone pavers. The curved masonry planter wall provides a buffer from the intersection of Wilmette Ave & Park Ave. The masonry wall includes Wilmette Public Library signage, announcing to visitors that they have arrived. Plantings in front of the wall and along the Park Ave sidewalk soften the view from the street. Bluestone walkways from both the Park Avenue sidewalk and the Wilmette Avenue sidewalk provide accessible routes into the lawn area from the community.
* It should be noted that a geothermal system is located below the open lawn. As such, the Landscape Master Plan is designed to limit the amount of foundation and structural work and to work within the natural landscape and grading patterns.
The garden walk expands and reorganizes the native butterfly garden to include interpretive signage and an ADA accessible path throughout. A bluestone paved area with seating pebbles is located at the corner. The path allows for access to the existing raised planter. The garden walk terminates at the west building access door. Plantings and trees extend between garden path and alleyway.
Parking lot improvements do not disturb the permeable paving system. Landscaped parking islands are considered to be replaced with concrete paving to improve maintenance. Additional trees and shrubs are planned along the north edge of the parking lot.
The existing hawthorn trees located in the alleyway are too large for the given space and have thorns. The trees are removed and replaced with native shrubs.
The approved Landscape Master Plan (March 20, 2018) documents a conceptual vision for the Outdoor Renovation Project. Since that time, the Library has been working to further refine and develop the plan.