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Funding, lease deal propel plans for new library in Medford

The town board on Nov. 19 voted 7-0

The town board on Nov. 19 voted 7-0 on a pair of resolutions authorizing plans to construct an annex of the Patchogue-Medford Public Library, seen here on Tuesday, in a 1-acre section of the Medford Athletic Complex. Credit: James Carbone

Medford may finally get its own library after officials struck a deal to build the facility in a Brookhaven Town park.

The town board on Nov. 19 voted 7-0 on a pair of resolutions authorizing plans to construct an annex of the Patchogue-Medford Public Library in a 1-acre section of the Medford Athletic Complex.

Plans for the annex are in the early stages and there is no date to start construction, much less an expected date for opening the facility.

But Patchogue-Medford library director Danielle Paisley said the agreement is the first tangible sign that the project — which has been proposed in various forms for five decades — might finally come to fruition.

"The [library] board is excited about this project," Paisley said. "This is really just what we've been waiting on."

Paisley said the 5,000-square-foot library is expected to cost approximately $2.5 million. Funding is expected to come from the town, the state, library capital projects funds and a nonprofit group, she said.

The library plans to move some of its book collection to Medford and open special sections for children and teenagers, as well as meeting rooms for use by community members, Paisley has said.

The State Legislature earlier this year approved Brookhaven's request to set aside, or alienate, part of the 23-acre athletic complex for the library.

The town board last week approved a 30-year lease for the library, with two 30-year extensions. Each extension would require state approvals to continue using town parkland for the facility.

The board also allocated $600,000 to help fund construction. Those funds — originally intended for a Medford community center that was never constructed — will be drawn from a community benefits fund established by the town and the owners of the Caithness power plant in Yaphank.

The town board last week also approved spending $209,000 from town funds to expand the athletic complex parking lot for the library.

Town Councilman Neil Foley said the annex would help bring library resources to Medford, about a 20- or 30-minute drive from the Patchogue-Medford library's primary branch on Main Street in Patchogue.

“It’s the right move and the right time, and Medford needs something for the kids up there," Foley said. “By building a new library up there, it just enhances the educational part for the people of Medford.”

Paisley said the next steps include hiring an architect and seeking state funding, as well as approval by the state Department of Education.

"It's a small building but it's a start to get some library access in Medford," Paisley said. "We're getting close to the end of this process where we can really get to the creative part of this process where we can say, what is this place going to look like?"

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