Billed as Cedar Park’s new central gathering space, The Bell District will include high-density residential units with retail, restaurants and other commercial uses. Located along Bell Boulevard, the mixed-use development will be 50 acres in size.
“Anchoring the new Bell District is such an extraordinary opportunity for the library,” said Julia Mitschke, Cedar Park Public Library director, in the Jan. 27 press release. “In this new dynamic, walkable mixed-use development, we are going to be able to reach even more of the community, including community members who might not think to visit the library but are coming to the Bell District to shop, eat or visit the park.”
One of the main goals of the Cedar Park Public Library is to be a civic gathering space, designed to encourage users of all ages to visit. The new library’s courtyard space will be surrounded by dozens of large heritage trees and have a fenced youth area, gathering spaces, contemplation spaces, an exterior fountain and more than 10 acres of park space with a trail.
Additionally, Cedar Park City Council approved the installation of a play structure in the children's courtyard area of the new library at its Jan. 26 meeting. The vision is to incorporate an imaginative-themed custom play structure, which will serve as a centerpiece of the high-profile play area, Director of Engineering and Capital Projects Randall Lueders said at the meeting.
“Life here in Cedar Park is inherently indoor-outdoor, and of course our seasons support that,” Mayor Jim Penniman-Morin said in the release. “I love how our design embraces that fact.”
For the interior design, the developers—Lake Flato Architects—focused on “warm, comfortable, cozy-feeling materials” as well as views to the exterior and an interactive youth play area, Project Architect Sophia Razzaque said at an Oct. 13 City Council meeting.
The interior of the new library will also have a storytime reading room, a low-tech maker space and a high-tech maker space—the low-tech room will include hands-on arts and crafts, and the high-tech will include computer-based 3D printing and laser cutting—a classroom, a teen area, an adults quiet space, group study rooms, a multipurpose room and a reading room. At 47,000 square feet, the inside of the library will serve many different community needs with space for all ages to meet and connect, according to the press release.
The new public library is funded through Cedar Park’s 2015 voter-approved bonds. Construction will last throughout 2023 and is slated to be completed in late 2024.
“I think it says a lot that the crown jewel of the heart of our city will be this library,” Penniman-Morin said. “This is a proud and exciting day for all of us.”