The North Babylon Public Library this month is holding a public vote on the purchase of a property to be used for additional parking.
The library is looking to buy the house at 210 Cooper Rd., which sits between the library on Deer Park Avenue and a sump. Library director Marc Horowitz said the house belongs to Clifton and Mary Valentine, but that Clifton died last year and his wife no longer lives in the home.
The couple’s children have agreed to sell the property, Horowitz said, which was appraised for $435,000.
In May, the library’s board of trustees unanimously agreed to buy the 100-foot by 220-foot property, but the purchase must be put up for public vote.
Horowitz said the library has wanted to expand its parking for more than a decade. The lot has 42 spots, he said, but that’s not enough to meet demand.
“I imagine in 1968, when they built the library and everybody had one car, it was sufficient,” he said.
But now library patrons arrive and “when there’s no place to park, they start parking everywhere and that’s a danger,” he said.
Horowitz said people will park illegally on the street and even up on the lawn next to the library.
Enlarging the parking lot will allow the library to meet its current demand and expand its programming, Horowitz said. “Right now, we have to be very, very careful how we plan for programs because there’s just no parking,” he said.
Horowitz estimates that, if approved by voters, the purchase will allow the library to double its parking. He said he hopes Habitat for Humanity will take the five-bedroom house and move it off the property. He also will see if some of the many trees on the property can be moved.
The library has been “saving nickels and dimes” for additional parking, Horowitz said, and the $435,000 will be taken out of the library’s reserve fund.
The library is preparing to replace its HVAC system at an estimated cost of $800,000, which will also come out of the reserve fund, Horowitz said.
After both of these expenses, he said there will likely be about $500,000 left in the fund. The library has a $3 million annual budget.
“We’ll have enough if there’s a small emergency,” he said. “Having a small fund balance is not ideal, but it’s a start to rebuild.”
Patrons said parking has always been problematic and that they often have to circle the lot several times before landing a spot, or simply double park and wait for someone to leave.
Linda Askew, 60, said that if parking were better and more programming offered as a result, she would visit the library more often. Right now, the parking situation is frustrating, she said.
“One time, I just gave up and went home,” she said.
A public information meeting on the purchase will take place on Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. at the library. The vote is scheduled for Aug. 30 from 1 to 9 p.m.