Letter to the editor: The Ravenna library improvements are in everyone’s best interest

Editor’s note: The Portager publishes letters to the editor from the community. The opinions expressed are published not because they necessarily reflect those of the publication but because we feel they contribute meaningfully to the local discourse on matters of public interest.

After reading the front page story in the Record-Courier about the library and seeing a reprint in The Portager, I’m asking for an opportunity to present another view. I have been a member of Reed Memorial Library’s board of trustees for many years and involved with this project from the beginning. Which by the way, was several years ago and was delayed by Covid. First, here’s a little history that might lay a good foundation for our present situation.

One hundred years ago Judge Cornelius Reed donated $25,000 for the construction of a public library in Ravenna. He had been trying for years to work with the city on this project but council was reluctant to put a levy on the ballot to generate the funds. H. Warner Riddle donated the land and we got our library. Again in the 1950s Judge Reed’s daughter, Mae Reed Waller, donated $100,000 for the first expansion, followed by the most recent addition in early 2000s.

Now today as Reed Memorial celebrates its 100th anniversary and the city of Ravenna celebrates its 225th we should be mutually supportive of these happy occasions. Sadly this is not what has been happening. From the beginning, almost two years ago, there have been a series of roadblocks, misinformation and lots of bad feelings generated. Correct information has been presented by our director in multiple forums around the city including city council. Our plans have been on display in the library, published in the Record-Courier and The Portager. We worked with the city engineer, city council and their own sub-committees and all facets were approved. And yet here we are, the project almost completed and still dealing with constant attempts to hinder progress.

The recent statements that our construction is terrorizing the public is more than ridiculous and so is our threatening their safety! The neighbors that are complaining are really only one or two. What does council want to accomplish by hiring a private attorney, at the city’s expense, to research 20-year-old documents?

What do they see as the end result?

I learned that the construction workers have been subjected to constant harassment, spitting and name calling, to mention a few techniques. Their vehicles have been blocked inside the area to prevent them access, and their construction trailer was broken into and over $2,000 in tools were stolen. The foreman stated this has been one of the most difficult projects he has worked on. Is this the kind of reputation we want for Ravenna? I don’t think so for one minute!

Over the last 100 years, RML, which began as a place to borrow a book, has evolved into an information center for the city. A learning center for kids of all ages, a partner in projects that involve the schools and multiple service organizations and so much more. As responsible stewards of this great asset to Ravenna, the Board of Trustees implemented this update to move the library into the next 100 years with a fresh new look. Isn’t that what the majority of Ravenna’s citizens want?

I encourage you to let your council members know how you feel. Ask questions, get involved! We’re counting on your help and will be thankful for your support!

Jane Moser

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The Portager publishes a range of opinions from the community. To submit a letter to the editor, write to [email protected].