Mastic Beach lost its village government. But it may be getting a new library.
Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library officials are in talks to lease the former Mastic Beach Village Hall on Neighborhood Road for a new branch that would supplement the current library 2-1/2 miles away in Shirley.
The old Village Hall has been vacant since Dec. 30, 2017, after Mastic Beach residents voted in 2016 to disband the 7-year-old village.
Library officials hope to open the Mastic Beach branch next year after the 4,000-square-foot building's current owner expands it to 7,000 square feet. The existing 40,000-square-foot library, in a shopping mall on William Floyd Parkway, will remain open.
“I think the majority of our population lives south of our existing facility, so I think this is an amazing opportunity,” library director Kerri Rosalia said in an interview. “I foresee a lot of family services there. … It will be a great addition to what we’re already doing.”
The library will have the option to purchase the building after leasing it for about five years. Terms of the rent and sale price are being negotiated, officials said.
The former Village Hall is accessible to the disabled and has 66 parking spaces, plus four parking spots for disabled residents, Rosalia said.
Brookhaven Town, which took over Mastic Beach's facilities when the village folded, sold Village Hall for $441,540 to AFU Properties of Center Moriches in a 2017 auction to dispose of village assets, including vehicles, properties and furniture.
AFU Properties is headed by former Bay Gas chief executive John O'Loughlin. Efforts to reach O'Loughlin for comment were unsuccessful.
The new branch won't affect the current library, officials said. Voters last year rejected a $33.5 million bond measure to build a new library on town-owned property at the former Links golf club.
Library officials have searched for several years for a location that would serve Mastic Beach residents, library board president Joe Maiorana said. He said Mastic Beach residents have been "historically underserved" by the library because of its distance from the former village.
"We can offer a wide variety of library services there,” Maiorana said. “It’s a unique opportunity because we explored other opportunities throughout the community that were going to cost significantly more.”
Maiorana, a Shirley resident, said the library has enough money in its current $10 million annual budget to afford the additional rent. He said library officials plan to offer Mastic Beach residents “a wide variety of services that they want and need,” such as children’s programs and possibly a computer lab.
“I think it’s a nice-size branch library," he said. “I think it’s important to meet with those residents to figure out what they actually want.”