Long-awaited Heroes Regional Park Library opens

Luis Centeno, 13, and Gerardo Lopez, 11, visit the new Heroes Library in Glendale, AZ.

After over 20 years in the making, residents of the Yucca District now have something a generation of children has been missing.

The Heroes Regional Park Library was christened May 18.

“It is finally here,” Vice Mayor Joyce Clark said. “Twenty years of waiting; it is very special to think about after first appearing on the city’s capital improvement plan in 1998 with a scheduled opening for 2001, which means an entire generation of kids have grown up with no access to a major city asset like this library. So, this day is tremendously important to this part of town.”

Heroes Regional Park Library is the city’s fourth library, behind Velma Teague, which opened in 1971; Main Library, which opened in 1987; and the Foothill Library, which opened in 1999.

The Heroes library is 7,515 square feet in size, with individual outdoor patios and programming space for youth, teens and adults. It is environmentally friendly, with rainwater management and water harvesting features.

Velma Teague and Foothills are approximately 25,000 to 35,000 square feet and the Main Library is 65,000 square feet. Although Heroes is much smaller, officials left room for expansion.

As of opening day, the library’s collection boasts approximately 9,000 items, though room is available for 25,000 volumes. Other interior building features include LED lighting and time switches and a community programming room, which can be divided into smaller spaces, as well as a study room, youth nook, family restroom and digitally controled climate.

“While tiny in size, at just over 7,500 square feet, it is mighty and built for expansion,” Clark said. “In the near future, after numbers are revealed on the resident’s use of this library, we will add an aquatics and recreation center for residents.”

Officials are already looking at growing the library’s catalogue.

“Council has also allocated $75,000 that is available for use July 1 for the purchase of more books for this library,” Clark said. “Plus, at resident’s requests, we have open outdoor areas that, during the cooler months, they will have musical performances out there for the residents to enjoy.”

The library’s name — Heroes — stems from a community vote to honor all the heroes in Glendale. Keeping in line with that theme, the grand opening showcased real-life heroes, including teachers and first responders. A squad of movie and comic superheroes interacted with kids to help celebrate the day.

“It is pretty cool to see this,” Mayor Jerry Weiers said. “If council before us had built this, it probably would have been twice the size; it would have probably cost even more to make it state of the art (like) it is today.

“While it may be smaller, this is more technological and state of the art, and maybe it was just meant to be,” he added.

Clark, who has championed Heroes Regional Park and its new library, said she is far from done working for this area. A seven-acre lake, an aquatics and recreation center, and a dog park are next on her list of projects.

“The lake is next, followed by the recreation center and aquatics center and then a dog park,” she said. “I will never stop fighting to get this park completed. But for today, this is very special to me and the residents. It is finally here.”