Demolition begins to make way for new Helen Plum Library in Lombard

The former Mr. Z's Supermarket building in Lombard that has stood vacant since 2013 is coming down to make room for a new Helen M. Plum Memorial Library.

Crews on Wednesday morning started demolishing the structure at 401 S. Main St. and a small professional building next door at 425 S. Main St.

Once the site is clear, Plum officials will move ahead with plans to build a two-story, roughly 50,000-square-foot facility that will replace the existing library at 110 W. Maple St.

Officials have budgeted $27.8 million for the project. The new library is scheduled to open in fall 2022.

"The new library address will be 411 S. Main St.," library spokeswoman Sue Wilsey said.

Wilsey said officials were inspired to choose that address number because of the slang expression "What's the 4-1-1?" The phrase grew from the decades-old telephone number that people dialed to reach directory assistance.

  Demolition of the former Mr. Z's Supermarket in Lombard began on Wednesday. A new Helen Plum Library will be built at that location. Mark Welsh/

"The library is certainly the place where you can get your information reliably," Wilsey said. "We thought that would be quite appropriate."

In 2016, Lombard voters approved a property tax increase for a new library. Originally, the new building was planned for the current library site. But those plans were dropped when agreements and issues could not be worked out with the Lombard Park District over the neighboring Lilacia Park.

The demolition work at the former Mr. Z's site is expected to take about three weeks according to Wilsey. Then the property needs to be graded and excavated to prepare for the new library's storage basement.

  Mr. Z's, a family-owned store since 1933, opened a Lombard location in 1967 and then moved in 1976 to this site at 401 S. Main St. The supermarket then closed in 2013. Mark Welsh/

"We've opened up a subscriber email list for neighbors to get construction updates," Wilsey said. "And we've been providing information on our website."

A library groundbreaking ceremony with local officials is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 15. Later that day at 2:30 p.m., the public bid opening for construction contractors will be broadcast online from Lombard Village Hall, 255 E. Wilson Ave.

"It will be a big day for all of us," Wilsey said. "You can sometimes have up to 100 bidders on all these different aspects of construction."

A rendering for the new Helen Plum Library in Lombard, which is to be located at 411 S. Main St. It's to be on a site that encompassed the former Mr. Z's Supermarket at 401 S. Main St. and a small professional building at 425 S. Main St. Courtesy of Engberg Anderson Architects

Wilsey said the construction process will be documented by a video producer as part of a local documentary focusing on the library's history and its impact on the community.

"And probably in early December, we'll have some virtual open house meetings with the community," Wilsey said. "That's so we can showcase all of the designs, the details and answer any questions on financing, the schedule or the new services that will be available."

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