The Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library would close for renovation for about two years and two branches would be constructed under a $26.6 million proposal that will likely go to a public vote in December, library officials said.
The proposal calls for:
- $16.3 million for the replacement of walls, ceilings, flooring, removing steel and enlarging bathrooms at the main library on William Floyd Parkway in Shirley. The upgrades do not address parking.
- $5.8 million for a branch at the site of the Little Red School House in front of Moriches Elementary School.
- $4.5 million to renovate and add 3,000 square feet to the old Mastic Beach Village Hall.
Library officials gave a presentation Monday night during its board of trustees meeting. Taxes would increase about $100 for the average homeowner, board president Joe Maiorana said.
The latest referendum comes less than two years after a failed vote to build the most expensive library in Long Island history. The $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.
The library district bought the Mastic Beach building in May from Center Moriches-based AFU Properties for $820,000 with plans of turning it into a satellite branch.
The William Floyd School District gifted 4 acres of land where the Little Red School House stands, with the stipulation that the library district will be responsible for knocking down the school house.
Library officials said they've spent the past year reaching out to the community on how to address the deteriorating building in Shirley.
Other sites for a library were considered, including Liberti Realty Listings on Montauk Highway, the former Manor House Property, the former bowling alley across the street from the library, and South Shore Auto-works, officials said.
If voters approve the bond, the main library will have more meeting rooms, staff offices at the lower level and handicapped-accessible restrooms. Funds will also be used to remove asbestos install exterior insulation.
The Moriches and Mastic Beach branches would be complete by 2021, and the main library would close for the renovations until 2023, Maiorana said.
Manor Park Civic Association president Ray Keenan thanked the library board for asking for public input, but asked that about $5 million in library surplus be used to lower costs. Maiorana said he would look into it.
Opinions seemed to be mixed among the 80 people at the presentation.
"I am in favor of the project. This is long overdue. We can't let the existing library go without doing much needed repairs," said Jean Forrest, 56, of Shirley. "The project is good for the community and will help support our residents now and in the future."
Mastic resident Diana E. de Leon, 71, said she not only likes the current proposal but wanted the last referendum to pass. "The present building is very limited on space," she said.
Others believe the proposal is too expensive.
"We can't afford this. You want to pour more money out of our pocket," said Steve Hanaghan, 64, of Mastic.
John Roarty, 56, of Mastic, said his taxes are increasing across the board.
"The community can't afford this," he said.