If you've ever tried to park at the Niles Library but couldn't find a space available, help is on the way. Library employees will soon be parking their vehicles at Culver School across the street in order to free up spaces for patrons.
The Niles Library and Niles Elementary School District 71, which operates Culver, have signed an intergovernmental agreement to allow library employees to park in 40 parking spaces in the school's west parking lot, which was resurfaced last year, said District 71 Superintendent Amy Kruppe.
"They've actually been parking there all year," she said. "They've been using 10 to 15 spaces as kind of a trial."
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The move comes in conjunction with construction work starting today to reconfigure Culver's east parking lot. It will be redone to add more parking spaces and also improve traffic flow for parents who are dropping off their children by car on school mornings, according to the district's website.
However, the Culver parking lots will be closed to the public during the summer, with the east lot under construction and the west lot used by library employees, according to the site.
Culver sits on the south side of Oakton Street, and the library is on the north, (and about a block west), which means the library employees have to cross Oakton Street after they park.
Kruppe recalls starting to talk with top library staff about parking a couple of years ago, when the library found that patrons couldn't find parking spots during popular events. The library is also undergoing a renovation project.
"We've just continued to try to be collaborative in everything we've done. it alleviates them from having to worry about parking and it helps us out a little financially with the restructuring of our parking lots," she said.
The agreement gives the library access to 40 parking spots for 25 years, and if either party does not want to continue, they may give a 60-day notice, Kruppe said. Culver bears the responsibility to keep it shoveled and clear, and the library bears the responsibility to put signs up to mark their parking spots.
The library pays school district $881 a month.
"We're excited we'can work together," Kruppe said.