VIDEO: Downtown Library to Move Temporarily to Paul Martin Building

The City of Windsor and Windsor Public Library Board have had a change of heart when it comes to a temporary location.

The city has purchased the Paul Martin building from the federal government for $1 with a plan to move the library into the ground floor for the next three to five years, if not longer — administration will take up some more space on other levels.

It was previously announced that City Hall would be the temporary location of the central branch.

Mayor Drew Dilkens says the city jumped at the opportunity when plans for a University of Windsor law school at the location fell through.

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Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens discusses the city's 2019 budget on April 1, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Dilkens says it's not the city's intention to be the long-term owner of the building, but the property will be quite useful in the interim and says part of the sale agreement is the building be re-purposed for public use.

"What do we want to do? Do we want to save the Paul Martin building? Do we think there's another use besides putting the Central library in there? We think there may be other uses, but at least, initially, that gives us the public use that's required for the federal government to transfer the building to the City of Windsor. It's a great space in terms of being able to accommodate the needs to the Central library."

Dilkens says, while the building has already received a $3.3-million exterior facelift, the city will be spending about $1.5-million to retrofit the inside.

"There will be renovations for sure to be able to accommodate the needs of a public library in that building, but it's the best part of the space that we're going to be using for the Central library. It's open, it's big enough, certainly it's right downtown and it'll allow us the time to see what the future of the Central library looks like," he says.

Dilkens says there will be an eight month transition period where library services in the downtown core will be limited, but work is underway to find a permanent site.

He also says the city has already began exploring options to fill the rest of the building.

The Downtown Mission will be taking over the Central library branch on June 28 after purchasing it from the city for $3.6-million.

The Mission hopes to have renovations complete by June 2020.