Planning is underway for a landscaping project on the south side of the downtown building.

STAFF PHOTO: MARK MILLER - The south side of the Forest Grove City Library is rather drab, with multiple patches of dirt that are unplanted, overgrown with weeds or contain only an old tree stump. City staff and library volunteers are looking to brighten it up with new plantings and other improvements.If you park behind the Forest Grove City Library, or if you walk there from the Old Town neighborhoods to the south, you might have noticed the landscaping on the back side of the building.

Actually, maybe you haven't. There's not much landscaping there to notice.

Library staff and volunteers, with the support of the City of Forest Grove, are planning to change that. Work is beginning this fall on a landscaping project outside the library, with planting likely to take place during next year's spring growing season.

There are several potential landscaping areas on the south side of the library that are either empty or unattractive, as library director Colleen Winters described them.

"The project is to enhance the appearance of those areas," Winters said.

But while the landscaping will beautify the back side of the building, it has another, more poignant purpose as well. Plans call for the planting of a memorial garden in the name of longtime library volunteer Dick Ginsburg.

"The real impetus started after Dick Ginsburg passed," said Rod Fuiten, president of the Forest Grove Library Foundation, about the landscaping project.

Of Ginsburg, who died in 2015, Fuiten said, "He was a very, very stout advocate of the Forest Grove library in many different ways."

"This garden is going to be a tribute to his work on behalf of the library," Winters said.

It won't be all planting and watering, though. The landscaping project will require some excavation and removal work, although Winters stressed it will be limited in scope.

"There's going to be some concrete removed. We're going to take out some — some — of the sidewalk that is behind the library in order to make the garden a little bigger," Winters said, adding, "There's at least one tree that's going to be removed. It's not healthy."

The project is still in its conceptual planning stage. Winters said it is not yet certain what will be planted behind the library, or exactly how much the project will cost, although the Forest Grove Library Foundation has been raising money for the project. (Donations to the foundation can be made at the library, located at 2114 Pacific Ave.)

Winters and Fuiten are excited about the project, though.

"It's going to enhance the appearance of this building in a very wonderful way, and the fact that it's honoring Dick Ginsburg is just a very wonderful thing," said Winters.

The Forest Grove Library Foundation is one of the library's main booster groups, along with the Friends of the Forest Grove Library. Fuiten said he knows improving the landscaping out back has been on the "wish list" of library staff for years, and the foundation has partnered with the City of Forest Grove on capital projects before — including the renovation and expansion of the library building itself last decade.

"The library, in my opinion, has always needed a little help," Fuiten said, explaining why he volunteers his time and effort for projects to improve the facility.

Of the foundation's board of directors, Fuiten added, "We feel that it's important for a city like Forest Grove to have a good library."

The city is expected to provide much of the actual legwork on the landscaping project. Winters said the foundation has committed to pick up the tab for remaining costs.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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