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Carnegie Library arrives at new home

The Carnegie Library starts its move from the

The Carnegie Library starts its move from the corner of Lake Street and Havens Avenue in Patchogue village to its new site on Suffolk County property. (Aug. 8, 2012) Credit: Heather Walsh

The century-old Carnegie Library has been delivered to its new home.

About 3 a.m., a truck pulling the 2,300-square-foot historic building entered the parking lot of Suffolk County District Court on West Main Street.

The library, which had been unoccupied for years, will rest in the corner of the parking lot until a permanent foundation is built on the site.

Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri, who at age 5 received his first library card there, witnessed the event. "Really you have to understand that we have taken this historic building and moved it to a place where it will continue to serve the village," he said Thursday morning.

The move was a relief to some village residents looking to preserve Carnegie.

"It would have been disappointing had it been knocked down," said Arthur Kirschenpfad, 54, who attended a news conference Wednesday marking the move.

Nearly a dozen members of Friends of Carnegie Library, an informal organization formed in November that is committed to preserving the building, stayed up to watch the move.

"A few of us in the community who have lived here have seen a lot of old buildings knocked down, so why not try and save it," said founder David Kennedy, 44.

Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated the funds to construct the neoclassical style structure, which opened in 1908. A village landmark, it stopped being run as a library in 1980. Briarcliffe College then used it, officials said, but the building has been vacant since 1998.

Pontieri said a decision on which of two potential tenants -- Greater Patchogue Historical Society and Patchogue-Medford Library -- vying to occupy the building is expected at Monday's village board meeting.

The relocation makes room for the construction of the $100-million New Patchogue Village, which is being developed by TRITEC of East Setauket.

The project is expected to revitalize and anchor downtown.

The mixed-use development, scheduled for completion in 2014, includes 291 apartments, 46,100 square feet of retail space and 13,000 square feet of office space, officials said.

The project's housing and office space is designed to attract young professionals. TRITEC officials say it should create more than 260 full-time jobs, 850 construction jobs and 450 secondary jobs.

The mayor thanked Suffolk County officials in attendance Wednesday, including Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue).

Bellone described the move as "historic" and thanked the community and county and village leaders for the relocation.

Most communities would have demolished the building, but the community recognized its importance, he said.

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