- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) - A private-sector effort is seeking to redevelop a long-shuttered library in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan as a museum named for late author Ray Bradbury.

Bradbury, who’s known for works including “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles,” was born in Waukegan and once roamed the halls of the city’s Carnegie Library. The building was closed as a library nearly 50 years ago, and publicly funded bids to redevelop it have failed.

Now, there’s a proposal with an estimated cost of $10 million to reopen the 103-year-old library building as The Bradbury Carnegie Center, the (Waukegan) News-Sun reported (http://trib.in/1XFJmpG ).

“Unlike previous attempts to save the building, this one is saying, ‘Why save the building? Because this is where Ray Bradbury grew up, and this is where he first went into a library,’” said Michael Edgar, president of the Greater Waukegan Development Coalition, a business-incubating firm among the effort’s backers.

Sandra Petroshius, board president for a nonprofit formed in the effort, said plans call for the library to be restored and reopened as a cultural and learning center with Bradbury written works and memorabilia.

Past efforts to restore the library included a 2011 recommendation from then-Mayor Robert Sabonjian to put a cultural center in the structure. Petroshius said the newest proposal differs from others in that the focus on Bradbury will be marketed to an international audience.

Petroshius called Bradbury “Waukegan’s gift” to give back to the region, nation and world.

“In the past, we didn’t know what should go in there, and suddenly it came to us this year like an epiphany,” she said. “It’s been drawing all sorts of people because they want to celebrate Bradbury.”

In a timeline presented at an October kickoff meeting for the nonprofit’s advisory panel, the group will pursue seed funding this winter before publicly unveiling concept designs in the spring. Construction would start in 2018, with a targeted opening of spring 2019.

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Information from: Lake County News-Sun, http://newssun.chicagotribune.com/

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