Beautiful new Prairie du Chien library needs some landscaping

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By Correne Martin

 

The new Prairie du Chien Public Library is an evolving and happening place of helpful discovery—on the inside. But outside the facility, which was renovated and expanded in 2018, patrons may have noticed the landscaping leaves much to be desired.

A pointed effort has begun to bring the grounds up to speed with the modern opportunity that’s available inside the public library. 

“It’s not much on the outside, but they’re very visible grounds,” said Cindy Robertson, who’s leading the charge toward creating a more inviting, aesthetically-appealing exterior for the library. 

The work would involve installing hardscape infrastructure, a soil analysis, fencing for outdoor equipment protection, and preparation before putting plants in the earth, Robertson said. 

“Rather than just aesthetics, we’re talking about sustainability and maintenance,” she explained.

Her ambition was inspired while she attended meetings for another organization at the library. She learned the library board had applied for a city grant to cover some landscaping costs, and that was declined. She was told both the city and library board budgets were already set for the year. 

So she decided to step forward to give back, having not long ago returned to her hometown of Prairie du Chien after 40 years of living away. She chose to take the lead and work toward making the front courtyard, back entrance and surrounding grounds more welcoming for all library visitors—residents and tourists alike.  

“Knowing how the library and this community shaped me, I’m happy to do this. I think we can get a strong community-driven and donor-supported, multi-generational effort going,” she stated. “I’ve talked with local businesses that are willing to help, and people who can come forward with time, money and materials.”

Robertson said she’s also spoken to representatives at Prairie du Chien High School who’ve suggested some students may be able make this a project of special focus. 

To bring about the intended outcome, she wishes to create awareness about the project, hopefully triggering civic organizations, businesses and individuals to consider making cash donations. She emphasized, though, that contributions must be specified for landscaping when made through the Friends of the Library.

“I’d like to try to create that sense of pride, of people feeling invested in their community,” Robertson quipped.

In terms of a timeline, she would like to aim for a May plantings period, and probably a fall one too, depending on donations, which she noted are tax-deductible. 

Library board member Deb Rider shared her support for this community landscaping project, “It will end up beautiful, really completing the whole construction. The unfinished look of the outside certainly doesn’t reflect what’s on the inside. It would be a shame if the outside didn’t match the inside.”

Both women added a final thought, that they hope people don’t lose sight of that big beautiful library campaign. Personalized brick pavers remain available for purchase through he library’s capital fund,  for installation around the sidewalk and fountain area of the front entry. 

Anyone interested in giving toward the landscaping project, or the continuing capital campaign, should contact the Friends of the Library or the library board, respectively. To do so, stop by the library or call 326-6211.

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