What’s in your wallet? $250,000.
Actor and East End celebrity Alec Baldwin has given $250,000 to the East Hampton Library to help cover the $4-million cost of expanding its children’s room — funds his Alec Baldwin Foundation said came from the money he made doing commercials for a Capital One credit card.
Because the library is not selling bonds, which would have to be covered by taxpayers, it is relying on private donations to raise funds for the $4-million project, and had already raised about half the money before Baldwin’s contribution.
The expansion, first proposed in 2003 and modified in 2004, was controversial, with the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals saying it would create too many traffic problems and change the character of the neighborhood.
But, library patrons voted 657-135 last year to approve the library board’s plan to sue the village, and in May State Supreme Court Justice Thomas F. Whelan ruled that the ZBA’s arguments were “irrational, arbitrary and capricious” and directed it to award the needed permits.
The 6,800-square-foot expansion enlarges the library by about a third, half of which will be underground, and adds a 60-seat community meeting room and second elevator that will make the entire building handicapped-accessible.
The project also adds 2,000 square feet to the children’s wing and adds 16 parking spaces.
Baldwin was honorary co-chair of the library’s children’s wing expansion committee, and he co-chairs its annual Authors Night fundraiser. He previously donated $25,000 to the library for the expansion.
The work is scheduled to begin next spring and will take about a year to complete.