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Puskarich Public Library unveils new facility

Dr. Scott Pendleton and library Director Sandi Thompson show off the new recording studio. Heritage Veterinary Care helped finance the upgrades to the studio.

CADIZ — After nearly a year in the works, the Puskarich Public Library unveiled its newly renovated facility that includes an array of new amenities for the public to enjoy.

Dozens of local officials and patrons attended the library’s grand reopening Monday. The library recently underwent a $1.1 million renovation project that includes handicap accessible features, a new front entrance, a local history section, expanded children’s department, a new teen section, private study rooms, maker space, recording studio, genealogy area and more.

Library Director Sandi Thompson opened remarks at the ceremony. She said the facility has not been upgraded in 35 years, since it was built in 1986.

“It’s a new library. We have redone everything here,” she said. “We had the original carpenting still, all the original fixtures; and it took some planning and some wonderful focus groups in the community and input from the staff. We’re just so excited to be able to showcase this today and share the new services that we’re going to be able to offer here, as well as the new accessibility we have now with the entrance and new restrooms.”

Cadiz Mayor John Migliore said the village and the county are “blessed” to have people like Thompson in the community who help to improve it.

“Our library provides public access to internet assistance with computers and the latest technology including mobile wi-fi hotspots, 3-D printers and now a state-of-the-art recording studio,” he said. “We have so many assets in our area that really helps our community.”

Migliore said the library offers community resources, helps residents to find jobs, provides online education courses, offers literacy and homework assistance for children, serves as a safe place to gather, and also helps to distribute rapid COVID-19 test ktis.

Migliore then went on to tell the story of how the library found its location in Cadiz. A group of four men, Migliore himself included, came together in the early 1980s after noticing the block along East Market Street was blighted with rundown homes. He said they began buying up the old homes in hopes of fixing up the street. Around that time, he said they discovered that the library was looking to relocate from its site inside the courthouse. Migliroe thought it was the perfect opportunity to transform the area into something good for the community. He added that they sold the lot to the library for the same price they had paid for it.

“We didn’t make any money off of it, that’s how oriented we were on making sure something good was done for our community,” he added.

Grae-Con Construction of Steubenville performed the original construction on the building in 1986 and also completed the recent renovations. Jim Dodds, project superintendent, said the project’s construction took around seven months to complete. The project took longer than anticipated due to ordering delays experienced amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he’s glad to have been a part of the project and hopes patrons enjoy the new amenities for years to come.

Ohio Rep. Don Jones congratulated and thanked Thompson and the library board of trustees for completing the project. He said residents are fortunate to live in a tight knit community such as Harrison County where residents have access to three branches.

“With my experience that I’ve had for the last two to two and a half years now, living in a small county has a lot more benefits than it does disadvantages. There are things that we may not have the best of, like broadband … but the services that our library provides our county is, I don’t think we realize just how valuable they really are,” he said.

The final speaker, Dr. Scott Pendleton, helped finance the library’s new recording studio. Pendleton unveiled a Nelm’s Mine memorial plaque that will be located in the library’s coal museum. The Harrison County Historical Society held a memorial service at the library late last year on the 80th anniversary of the explosion which killed 31 men. He said the plaque contains all the names of those who perished in the disaster.

The library is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Thompson said they may decide to extend hours in the near future, but for now the hours will remain the same.

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