A hub of Eagle River is returning to normal.
The Chugiak-Eagle River branch of the Anchorage Public Library will reopen for normal business hours Tuesday following a month-long closure at the Eagle River Town Center Building due to newly discovered earthquake damage.
Staff at most offices inside the building returned to work last week after the structure was deemed safe to occupy by the Alaska State Fire Marshal.
The local parks and recreation and street maintenance departments are back in their normal spaces, as is the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce. The library took a bit longer as staff had to re-shelve hundreds of items that were returned during the closure.
“Staff has been allowed back in to the building and is working hard to ensure it’s ready to welcome back our patrons,” wrote Anchorage Library Community Relations Manager Misty Rose Nesvick in an email last week.
The library is open noon to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and closed Sundays and Mondays.
Offices such as the Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation and the Eagle River Street Maintenance Departments, as well as the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, located inside the south end of the municipal-owned building, have resumed normal operations. The municipal offices had been working out of rented trailers in the parking lot during the closure, which began May 10 when one end of the mall was “red-tagged” after possible structural damage was uncovered as a result of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on Nov. 30, 2018.
The south end of the building, which houses the library, chamber of commerce and municipal offices, has been closed since, as has the vacant north end. The middle section of the building, which houses the Alaska Club, remained open after engineers deemed it safe, said Robin Ward, director of the municipality’s Real Estate Department.
Ward said the building was closed in order to remove loose exterior veneer and inspect the interior of the structure for further damage. That has been done, Ward said, and the news appears to be good.
“The walls have been exposed and the structural engineer has inspected the structure for damage,” Ward wrote in an email. “Three areas have been identified in need of repair on the north and south ends of the building, but the structure withstood the earthquake extremely well. The repairs are in progress and they do not impact the occupancy of the building. The exterior will receive new exterior siding this summer or fall.”