Voters narrowly approved a $22.6 million proposal on Tuesday night to renovate the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library and add two branches.
The bond referendum, which passed 1,173-1,078, will increase taxes on the average home assessed at $1,995 by about $86 per year.
More than 100 people awaited the results in the downstairs section of the library on William Floyd Parkway in Shirley, and the crowd erupted into cheers once the results were announced. Shouts of “oh my God” and “we are the champions,” were heard.
“It passed closely, I look forward to seeing the construction start and I’m ready to move past this and get on with fixing the library,” said Ray Keenan, president of the Manor Park Civic Association.
Library officials hailed the decision.
“It’s just so amazing. For our community to come out and support the project, it just feels great. We’re going to deliver a great project for everybody,” said library director Kerri Rosalia.
The latest proposal comes less than two years after a failed vote to build the most expensive library in Long Island history.
That $33.5 million proposal, which voters rejected in February 2018, would have paid for an energy-efficient building a mile south on the former Links At Shirley golf course. Officials at the time defended the price tag, citing expensive construction costs.
Library district residents also defeated a $34.8 million expansion and building improvement plan in 2006.
In its latest incarnation, library officials reduced the original $26.6 million bond by using $4 million in reserve funds. They also announced plans to save the Little Red Schoolhouse in Moriches, which had been scheduled for demolition by its owner, the William Floyd School District.
The Moriches and Mastic Beach branches are scheduled for completion by 2021, and the main library would close for the renovations until 2023.
The former Mastic Beach Village Hall will be converted into a 7,000-square-foot annex on Neighborhood Road.
The main library will have more meeting rooms, staff offices at the lower level and handicapped-accessible restrooms. Funds also will be used to remove asbestos and install exterior insulation.