BRADDOCK, Pa. — The Braddock Carnegie Library, a National Historic Landmark, has served as an anchor to the community since opening in 1889.
But half of the building has not been used for decades. Now plans are underway to renovate the first U.S. public library built by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie 130 years ago.
“You could really tell that he really cared about continuous learning. It’s something that we feel in our DNA, giving to the community and making sure we do well, the communities where we live and work do well,” said U.S. Steel President and honorary campaign co-chair David B. Burritt.
Friday marks the new beginning for this piece of history with a ceremonial groundbreaking with state and local leaders.
The renovation plan includes much-needed physical improvements.
The swimming pool will be converted into a social space, the old music hall will remain — but be rehabilitated for community events — and there’s also a gym that will be fixed up.
In addition, all facets of the building will be universally accessible and climate-controlled.
“This library will continue to be that welcoming space and there has never been a more critical time for the public space that there’s another library provide them today,” said Eden Hall Foundation Executive Director Sylvia Fields.
The Carnegie One Capital Campaign has raised $11 million of its goal of $18 million to totally upgrade the library.
The state contributed $1.75 million in grant money.
“This is what makes a community, people come together, obviously the building is important but the effort that goes into it to raising the funds and rehabilitating the building, that’s what makes the community. It’s wonderful to see,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
Until the fundraising goal is met, the timeline on the construction is still up in the air.
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