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Ferguson Library Ramps Up Accessibility To Starbucks With New Walkway

Stamford David Martin poses with Ferguson Library President Alice Knapp before they announced the opening of a new walkway at the library Tuesday.
Stamford David Martin poses with Ferguson Library President Alice Knapp before they announced the opening of a new walkway at the library Tuesday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
City and library officials celebrated the opening of a new handicap accessible walkway to Starbucks at Ferguson Library Tuesday. The project is the first step in a project designed to make a Bryant Park-style terrace.
City and library officials celebrated the opening of a new handicap accessible walkway to Starbucks at Ferguson Library Tuesday. The project is the first step in a project designed to make a Bryant Park-style terrace. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
City and library officials celebrated the opening of a new handicap accessible walkway to Starbucks at Ferguson Library Tuesday. The project is the first step in a project designed to make a Bryant Park-style terrace.
City and library officials celebrated the opening of a new handicap accessible walkway to Starbucks at Ferguson Library Tuesday. The project is the first step in a project designed to make a Bryant Park-style terrace. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
City and library officials celebrated the opening of a new handicap accessible walkway to Starbucks at Ferguson Library Tuesday. The project is the first step in a project designed to make a Bryant Park-style terrace.
City and library officials celebrated the opening of a new handicap accessible walkway to Starbucks at Ferguson Library Tuesday. The project is the first step in a project designed to make a Bryant Park-style terrace. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
The pillars in front of Ferguson Library are set to be refurbished as part of a terrace construction project this spring.
The pillars in front of Ferguson Library are set to be refurbished as part of a terrace construction project this spring. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

STAMFORD, Conn. — The Starbucks inside Stamford’s Ferguson Library starts brewing coffee hours before visitors can browse the shelves. This arrangement, though, has proved challenging for some.

The library’s handicap accessible ramp connected the street only with the library’s front entrance. That meant that anyone using a wheelchair or rolling a stroller couldn’t access Starbucks’ exterior entrance when the library was closed.

But with the opening Tuesday of a walkway connecting the ramp to the Starbucks store, now “anybody can get into Starbucks, whenever it’s open,” Ferguson Library President Alice Knapp said.

The pathway was long-awaited by officials, who had been thinking up ways to make the library — and the city — more accessible.

“We’re trying to take steps forward in access for all,” Stamford Mayor David Martin said. “This is one of those small steps moving us forward so people with disabilities can have access to Starbucks as well as to the library."

The walkway was the first phase in a project to create a new terrace and garden, where the community can enjoy a coffee and a book.

Soon crews will begin restoring the four pillars in front of the historic library building. Once that work is completed, crews will install two permanent granite benches along with Bryant Park-style chairs and tables.

The ground will be covered with bluestone pavers, yew hedges and a variety of plants. Crews will also plant a new honey locust tree in front of the library, which faces the busy downtown intersection of Broad and Bedford streets.

The project will be funded by a combination of private and public sources, according to Knapp. She was glad the walkway is done and the project is underway.

“We’re just delighted that we’re finally having this day,” she said, standing in front of a poster board detailing the exciting work to come.

Knapp said she hopes the improvements will be completed by July, if there are no weather-related delays.

The Starbucks at Ferguson Library is located at 96 Broad St. in the heart of Stamford’s downtown. The store is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 6:30 a.m to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

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