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Historic Patchogue Carnegie Library moved

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 was moved Wednesday to make room for the construction of the $100 million New Patchogue Village.

The 2,300-square-foot historic building, which has been unoccupied for years, was put on a truck and was to be driven to the parking lot of Suffolk District Court on West Main Street, where it will rest until a permanent foundation is built on the site.

"This is where I got my first library card at age 5," said Village Mayor Paul Pontieri, before the move. "It shows we value history. Whenever you're able to preserve a historic building, it makes for a better place."

East Setauket developer TRITEC, which village officials said spent $500,000 on relocating the library, plans to move forward on the Village project, which is expected to revitalize and anchor downtown.

The final leg of the move was scheduled for shortly after midnight Wednesday.

Nearly a dozen members of Friends of Carnegie Library, an informal organization formed in November and committed to preserving the building, planned to stay 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 for space, officials said, but the building has been vacant since 1998.

Pontieri said two potential tenants -- Greater Patchogue Historical Society and Patchogue-Medford Library -- are vying to occupy to building. A decision is expected at Monday's village board meeting, he said.

The mixed-use development supplanting the library, scheduled for completion in 2014, includes 291 apartments, 46,100 square feet of rental 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 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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