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The Cleveland Bradley County Library plans to make some landscaping changes in front of the Carmichael House, located at the southern end of the library's main campus facing Ocoee Street.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The landmark Craigmiles House, which serves as the history branch of the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library, is getting a major makeover to its genealogical research room, library officials said.

The building on Ocoee Street across from the main library has had extensive renovations over the last year. The Craigmiles House, built in 1866, was the city's main library from 1922 until the late 1980s.

In a recent meeting, library board trustees discussed the project's progress and their expectations for the revamped research space.

"I think it's going to be a lot better," Chairman John Hagler said. "It's going to be a modern facility, and it's coming along real well."

Renovations began in late December, taking place outside normal operating hours to minimize disturbances to genealogical researchers, library Director Andrew Hunt said.

Planned improvements call for new drywall, ceiling, floor and carpet, Hunt said. Old water damage on some walls also is being repaired.

A new microfilm scanner also is in the works, trustee Barbara Fagan said.

Hunt praised the extensive work performed on the building's exterior, which included painting, replacing damaged wood and mortar and installing an ADA-compliant concrete ramp.

"It looks fresh and new," Hunt said.

In other business, library officials discussed landscaping plans for the library's main campus.

"Overall, people won't see great changes in the property's appearance," Hagler said. "It will look the same, but we think it will look better."

Part of the work involves moving hedges on the Ocoee Street side that block the facade of the landmark Carmichael House, the southern anchor for the main campus.

Relocating the hedges will enable the "full-effect" view of the home's balustrade and create a natural enclosure along the southern edge of the library campus, Hagler said.

Transformation efforts last year involved creating a common frontage along the Ocoee Street side by rearranging a historic stone wall that originally formed a corner at Eighth and Ocoee streets. With the wall sections removed from Eighth Street, plans are moving forward to fill the space with plants, library officials said.

In December, library trustee Bill Burch reported a new iron double gate had been incorporated into the Ocoee Street stone wall frontage.

Other improvements have been proposed for the library's Church Street side, including a crosswalk, Hagler said previously.

All the renovation projects have been funded through private means, Hagler said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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