Neighbors get sneak peek at new Mattapan library

No opening date has been set yet, but the new Mattapan Library is swiftly becoming a reality on Blue Hill Avenue. Members of the task force that advised the city on its construction got an advance tour on Monday, just to see if there were any lingering concerns from the group.

Only one came up: The question of who would hold a key to a gate that would exist, connecting the new library's lot with Gladtidings Pentecostal Assembly Inc., a church on Norfolk Street that backs up to the library. Before the city built the library, the church used the vacant land for parking and kept it free of litter. Several members on the task force are church members.

"It was put before us as if it was positive," Bishop Hezron Farrel of the church said. Several others agreed it was presented as mitigation for the library's curtailment of church parking and a way to stay connected to the neighborhood. Library official Joseph Hogan Jr. said he would have to take it to the Boston Public Library's new president, Amy Ryan.

"We have to look at the liability issue, we have to look at the scheduling, but we want to be good neighbors," said Hogan.

Otherwise, the crowd of around 15 approved of the building's large windows, granite-walled courtyard and façade, and spacious community room.

"It's appealing on a whole, the building itself is quite nice," said Valroyce Francis, a neighbor. "The only thing at issue is keeping it maintained."

"This is what I saw when I was praying," said Gwendolyn Farrel, the bishop's wife. "We prayed over this land. We visualized education right here, whether it be bible education or just education."

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