Great Neck Library bond up for vote

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Voters in Great Neck will decide tomorrow whether to approve a $20.8-million bond request for renovating and expanding the Great Neck Library’s main branch.

Library officials have considered updating the circa 1970 facility since 1990, but this is the first time a referendum will go before residents.

The plan calls for reconfiguring the inside of the library and adding 8,645 square feet to the 47,125-square-foot building, library director Jane Marino said.

The additional space will be added along the south and east sides of the library. The plans include doubling the children’s collection area, increasing audiovisual space and creating a computer training room.

“We don’t have the room,” Marino said. “We want to make this building a center of the community.”

The total estimated cost for the project is $21.3 million with the library using $500,000 from its main building fund.
The library is expecting to get a 20-year bond.

For a house valued at $500,000, the bond would add $39.95 annually to property taxes if the interest rate is 4 percent and $45.43 if the rate is 5.5 percent.

For a $1 million property, taxes would increase $79.90 per year at 4 percent and $90.86 at 5.5 percent, according to the library.

Ralene Adler, a former library trustee, favors a smaller project renovating the library but not expanding it, at an estimated cost of $13.5 million.

“It would have community support and not divide this community,” Adler said of a smaller proposal.

The library board did not seek resident consensus before proposing the project, she said.

The expansion required a variance from the Town of North Hempstead Zoning Board of Appeals to reduce the number of parking spaces and to make parking spots smaller.

The board approved that variance in March and the town approved the site plan in July.

The plan includes wall-to-ceiling windows along the back side of the library near Udalls Millpond that Adler said would be dangerous for birds.

If approved by voters, the plan will require about a year for design and seeking bids. Construction is expected to take two years with the library closed for the duration.

Marino said layoffs would be minimal during the project and hours at the library’s three other locations would likely be expanded.

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