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Great Neck voters to revisit library renovation

The Great Neck Library is located at 159

The Great Neck Library is located at 159 Bayview Ave., Great Neck. (Jan. 10, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

Voters are to decide Tuesday the fate of a $10.4-million bond referendum to renovate the main branch of the Great Neck Public Library, two years after rejecting a larger bond measure for more extensive upgrades.

About half of the bond is to be used for infrastructure work on a building that has not been renovated since it was built in 1970, said Marietta DiCamillo, president of the Great Neck Library board of trustees.

"Quite frankly, the infrastructure currently in place is failing," DiCamillo said, noting there's a hole in the roof that leaks when it rains and asbestos in the building that needs to be removed.

The work also includes improvements to the building's heating and air-conditioning, electrical and alarm systems, and upgrades to its restrooms, windows and elevator.

In addition, the bond would pay for a larger community room that would be housed on the main level. The audiovisual room would be moved to the main level from its location downstairs, and library officials plan to build new reading areas on the main level and the mezzanine, DiCamillo said.

An expanded children's area on the lower level, complete with its own checkout area and entryway, would also have an outside patio in an area that is currently unused, she said.

The exterior of the building would be cleaned and repaired but would otherwise remain the same. Hours at the three branch libraries would increase while the main building is closed for the renovations, which are estimated to take less than a year.

If the measure passes, the owner of a home valued at $500,000 would pay an estimated additional $24.01 a year in taxes if the bond interest rate is 4 percent, and an additional $26.05 a year if the rate is 5 percent.

In 2011, voters rejected a $20.8-million bond measure that would have expanded the main branch by 8,645 square feet in addition to the renovation, and would have closed the facility for 24 months during construction.

Voting is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Baker Hill School for residents living north of the Long Island Rail Road, and at the Great Neck South High School for residents south of the LIRR.

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