x"White Amber" may sound like the next Nicholas Sparks novel, but you won't find it on the shelves of the Dunkirk Free Library. Look to the walls, instead.
"White Amber" is one of the new shades the library's interior has been getting adorned with as students from the Cassadaga Job Corps and a professional company separately paint the walls on both levels of the building.
Library board member Pat Frey helped arrange the makeover, which is funded through the Community Development Block Grant. The last time the library received coats of paint was in 1985, covering up what library director Mary Jane Covley Walker described as an "institution green."
OBSERVER Photos by Tim Latshaw
Top: A team of students from the Cassadaga Job Corps Home Builders’ Institute spent the past week painting the downstairs children’s area of the Dunkirk Free Library. From left, back: Qunaysha James, Stephanie Manney, Kevin Kuhn, Rodolfo Lara, Luis G. Rodriguez, Rich Isaacs and Benny Alvarez. Kneeling: Jeremiah Talley.
Above: Chuck Mangus, left, and his son Mike, owners of Hillside Painting Company, work on the walls of the Dunkirk Free Library Thursday.
"It's been about 25 years since it's been painted and we just had the new construction to further get the library looking freshened up, really," Frey said. "I'm very delighted to have them."
The Job Corps, under the direction of painting instructor Dan Nalepa of the Home Builders' Institute, took command of the downstairs children's section of the library, while Hillside Painting Company of Fredonia covered the main area upstairs.
Each group has faced much the same challenge: getting paint on the library's walls, columns and plaster work while keeping it off the carpets, books and patrons - the library remained open and active the entire time.
"We've got a lot of people in and out, here - the public," said Chuck Mangus, owner of Hillside Painting along with his son, Mike. "It's their library; we're just here visiting, painting it, so we have to work around them. We have to be careful that we're leaving things in a safe manner for the public, in and out."
Hillside Painting Company's 15-year local career record includes a number of churches and a group of medical offices, so they do have experience working in places that must be kept neat and quiet.
Downstairs, the Job Corps students have taken great care in their work at a real-world site while accommodating children, computer equipment and a vociferous bird. According to Nalepa, the students have made sure to take the necessary precautions so no problems have popped up through the week.
"There's valuable experience in that," Nalepa said.
The Home Builders' Institute is open to working on several kinds of projects for non-profit organizations.
"It's not always about paint; we do drywall hanging and floor tiles as well," Nalepa said. "We also work with paint sprayers, but not here."
The children's section was scheduled to be finished Friday, while the upstairs area will take several more weeks.
The CDBG, through which the library has received funding for its construction and painting projects, is a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was applied for by City of Dunkirk Director of Development Kory Ahlstrom.
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