Having once again determined that the residents of Manhasset need a larger improved library, the trustees of the Manhasset Public Library have invited the public to two meetings at which four proposals will be discussed.
Five years ago the trustees offered a referendum for a larger library on the Christ Church Parish Hall site but it was narrowly defeated. Two years ago the board again sought public input and the results of a questionnaire showed that most respondents wanted to see a new library on the site of the Christ Church Parish Hall. The church has taken that property off the market. Other possible options, such as a combined Manhasset-North Hills library and a library on the Whitney property have been explored and abandoned.
Four options have been developed by the trustees with the assistance of architect Roger Smith. The trustees last week sent out a community mailing discussing the four options and the reason a new library is needed. At their request, we here summarize the contents of that mailing.
The new library is needed because the building is too small to support the constantly increasing demand for services. Last year the library had more than 277,750 visits, a record high and a contradiction of the predictions of those who expected library attendance to decrease. The collection and associated equipment have crowded out space formerly set aside for the use of patrons. Much of the building's infrastructure has reached the end of its useful life. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, electrical service and the windows on the south side of the building need replacement. Estimates for these and other necessary repairs exceed $1 million.
Of the proposed solutions, the first is to repair and expand the existing building. In this option the library would acquire the commercial property to the south, presently occupied by the Adam Art Center. The new land would be used to expand the available parking from the present 40 to 67 spaces. The library's architects have developed a plan to add 9,600 square feet of space to the current building. A new basement and two-story addition would be built at the rear and the front entrance would be expanded. All of the infrastructure repairs mentioned above would be included. Available space would grow from 15,400 square feet to 25,000 square feet. This project would cost in the neighborhood of $6.5 million and would take approximately two years to complete. During construction, library services would be curtailed and at times the building would have to be closed.
The second option would be to rebuild the existing building. Similar to the proposal in option one, this would also require the acquisition of the commercial property to the south and would increase the parking from 40 to 67 spaces. The current library building would be enlarged to approximately 32,000 square feet. This plan essentially calls for a rehabilitation of the entire present building. The expanded library provided by this option would essentially result in a new facility while salvaging some parts of the present building. It would accommodate the library's present book collection, with room to grow and would expand the space for patron services. The cost of this option is approximately $12.8 million. It would take approximately two years to complete from the time of bond approval. During much of that time it would require relocation to a rented site.
The third option is to build a new library on the Adam Art site. As in options one and two, the library would acquire the Adam Art site and demolish the building. In this case, a new library of 32,000 square feet, fronting on Northern Boulevard, would be built in its place. The cost of this option is approximately $14.5 million. The project would take about two years to complete. At completion of construction, library materials, equipment and services would be moved so that the existing library building could be demolished and parking constructed in its place. As in options one and two, parking would be increased from 40 to 67 spaces. The advantages of this option are that the current library would remain in operation during construction.
Finally, there is the possibility of building a new library at the site of the old Village Bath Club south of Daffy's on Northern Boulevard. The library could build a 32,000 square foot building on this site, comprised of two stories and a lower floor partially below ground level. The project would cost approximately $14.5 million. On site parking would total approximately 66 spaces. One of the advantages to this option is that the current library would remain in operation during construction. Drawbacks include concern about the environmental status of the site, which is currently being studied, as well as its location away from the center of Manhasset.
The trustees have urged Manhasset residents to attend either the meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. or on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 9:30 a.m.