A park, 1/4 - 1/2 of a block in size, across from the library, is a capital idea. But I've heard worries about its becoming a "problem". This is code for "poor people" and "youth". Hardly problems. We just have to make sure that everyone mixes well.
The Library Park provides a great opportunity for local economic development. Here are a few ideas to make this a lively public space:
Extend the library hours
There's no reason the library can't be open until midnight. The City could do a $5 "cover charge" for 9pm - midnight, and provide a band, to pay for the library staff. People would pay it. The Library Evening could become quite a scene ... lectures, music, literary circles, vendors, etc.
Extend the bus hours
Keeping LTD active later, especially on weekends, could pay for itself. Local venues & pubs can get involved in raising ridership, bus awareness and making the system easier to use. And, it could lower incidents of drunk driving.
Extend the Atrium hours
The ground floor of the Atrium is a terrific evening venue. Any number of local entrepreneurs would rent this space, charge a cover, and hold events there.
Vendors in the park
An incubation program for vendors, in collaboration with LCC and Saturday Market, would make the park a place to eat, snack and shop late into the evening. All that's needed is some rain shelter, awnings, arcades etc.
Vendors in the surrounding buildings
Arcades and awnings provide shelter from the rain ... if they are high enough, they allow sun through. Small shops, vendors and food providers can line the two sides of the park, and extend down the alleyway. This is a permanent market presence.
Benches, tables, chairs, awnings, fountains and amenities
Loose tables and chairs for people to sit. Fountains for people to splash around. Trees for shade. Bicycle valet parking for those willing to brave the elements. Awnings and tents to protect people from the elements.
We've identified a number of places to put housing on top of the surrounding buildings. And, of course, an affordable housing complex on the West side of the park, perhaps with a local CDC like St. Vincent de Paul's, with ground floor shops and a close integration with the park, would be ideal.
1/4 block of apartments: Student housing and affordable housing
The collapse of the speculative housing market doesn't mean everyone has a place to live:
a) Affordable housing -- the local St. Vincent de Paul is committed to developing affordable housing, and the site is city-owned.
b) UO Student housing -- the University continues to expand its housing on and off campus, but why not place car-less students (graduates, undergraduates, and their families) downtown? It's across the street from the fastest bus to the University, and would help to connect students to downtown.
Use your resources: The Tango Center, New Zone, DIVA, Bradford's, The Farmer's Market, etc ...
The surrounding small businesses, co-ops and non-profits are over-flowing with ideas, but are underfunded. They would all certainly take responsibility for programming activity, to connect the park to the rest of the Eugene community.