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Trustees won't pursue library's expansion

Great Neck Library trustees have voted to scrap a proposal to expand the Bayview Avenue main branch, deciding instead to craft new plans to renovate the building.

The decision at a special meeting Tuesday night comes after voters on Oct. 25 overwhelmingly rejected a $20.8-million bond request.

The expansion proposal, which sought to add 8,645 square feet to the 47,000-square-foot library and renovate the inside, will not be reconsidered.

Trustees Josie Pizer, Martin Sokol, Varda Soloman and Marietta DiCamillo voted to get rid of the renovation and expansion plan, while trustees Anna Kaplan and Joel Marcus, and board president Janet Nina Esagoff abstained.

"The results of the referendum are a clear indication of how the residents of Great Neck feel about what they want to do in the library for the future," Sokol said.

Trustees also voted to adopt a building program that would renovate the existing building in its current size. Soloman voted no, Kaplan and Esagoff abstained, and the rest of the board voted yes.

"I am ready to hear any and all options," said Esagoff, who had favored expansion.

About 80 residents attended the meeting. Many said they supported the library, but that trustees needed to cut costs, forget expansion plans, listen to the community more and think about how technology might alter space demands.

"The building needs renovation," said Shirley Samansky, wife of late Saddle Rock Mayor J. Leonard Samansky. "It needs reallocation of space. It does not need one inch more of space."

The library is seeking volunteers to provide input about future plans. Residents can sign up at GreatNeckLibrary.org.

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