May 24, 2022

Library’s Outdoor Expansion Is a Hoot!

The outdoor expansion over at the Library is starting to take shape, most recently with the completion of an absolutely stunning tree trunk sculpture by artist Jim Phillips.  Sadly, this water oak was one of several trees that we lost as a result of the February 2021 deep freeze, in this case due to direct freeze damage and the onset of Hypoxylon canker disease.  Though the tree could not be saved, we’re thrilled its trunk has been transformed into a beautiful work of art to enhance this new greenspace amenity.  Symbolic of the virtues of wisdom and knowledge, three owls are perched atop a stack of books, welcoming and inspiring patrons to take advantage of and enjoy the many resources and programming the Library has to offer.

Local non-profit Patrons for Bellaire Parks initiated the outdoor expansion project last year in partnership with the City, and with input from our citizen Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.  Patrons provided the funding for it, supplemented by a contribution from the Friends of the Bellaire Library.  In the “back yard” behind the building is a new and improved interactive educational area for children, featuring a much-needed shade structure, sensory garden planters, creative play pieces and more.  The outdoor reading area on the lot next door, overseen by the owls, is more passive in nature and will include picnic tables, chess tables with sets available for checkout, benches and public Wi-Fi.

The project has been coming along in stages, starting with the addition of a pecan tree donated by Patrons and dedicated as part of Planting Palooza last April, followed by the installation of new fencing earlier this year.  This month things are really starting to pick up as components are delivered and put in place, and another replacement tree has been planted.  We’re not quite there yet but getting closer, and are so excited to introduce this wonderful outdoor community space.  Our sincere thanks once again to Patrons and the Friends, and all of their supporters, for making it happen.