Cooper Park makeover part of library project

Cooper Park in downtown Dayton is a pretty straightforward proposition — a square of grass, shade trees, and a statue of President William McKinley.

It gets plenty of use during downtown festivals and parades as a quiet refuge from the crowds.

The expansion of the Dayton Metro Library is encroaching on an estimated 20 percent of the park, for a time a sore point among some park users.

But library officials say that a significant overhaul of Cooper Park will come with the $63 million reconstruction of the main library.

New pathways in the new park will lead visitors into the library’s north entrance. Patrons should have a lovely view. Gazing out glass walls, they’ll see a landscaped and replanted park with ornamental tall grasses, flowers and new trees.

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“We want to embrace the park with the landscaping,” said Dayton Metro Library Executive Director Tim Kambitsch. “We recognize that a lot of kids will come to the park. We want to put play sculptures among the landscaping to make it not just beautiful but fun.”

The new downtown library was designed with the park in mind, he added.

“I’m convinced that the way we will bring the outdoors into the library is with all that glass. We will make it a better park.”

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