State of the art library to be built in WS

The new library will replace the main building of the Huntington Free Library, while the red building adjacent to it will be preserved.
Community News Group / Steven Goodstein

A public hearing was recently held to discuss the plan for a brand new library for Westchester Square.

On Monday, June 27, at the Hutchinson Metro Center, where Community Board 10, Councilman James Vacca’s office, the Westchester Square Business Improvement District and the Westchester Square Merchants Association discussed the progress of a plan that will result in a brand new, state of the art library for the area.

The proposed two-story, glass structure, 12,000 square foot library will replace one of the two buildings that currently make up the Huntington Free Library at 9 Westchester Square, after the property is acquired by the city following the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure process.

As a part of the plan, the smaller of the two buildings on the property, a two-story red building that currently houses archives, will remain on the property to preserve the history of the Huntington Free Library, which dates back to 1892, intact.

It has also been said that the red building, which is adjacent to the library’s main building, will obtain landmark status so it will be properly preserved.

The new library will also include accommodations that neither of the are’s libraries currently provide.

Unlike the Huntington Free Library as well as the New York Public Library – Westchester Branch at 2521 Glebe Avenue, the new library will provide wheelchair accessibility for the senior population, among other improvements.

At Monday’s meeting, the vote was unanimously approved, after Community Board 10 expressed their interest and voted in favor of the project.

“This new library will be a unique but unquestionably positive addition to the community when it is built,” said Martin Prince, chairman of CB 10.

“I am very pleased to see that the approval process of this project is moving in the right direction,” said Councilman James Vacca, who allocated over $11 million to the project.

“This state-of-the-art library will bring a new kind of attention to this neighborhood and this district,” said Lisa Sorin, executive director of the Westchester Square BID.

“Everybody in the area will benefit from this project – seniors, high school students and businesses. This is definitely a win-win-win.”

“The fact that a brand new library is coming to Westchester Square is fabulous,” said Sandi Lusk of the Westchester Square Zerega Improvement Organization

Although the community’s overall opinion of the new library seems to be overwhelmingly positive, there are some who are not in support, stating that the proposed glass structure doesn’t conform to the area’s identity of cement and brick-style buildings.

Some want the library at another location. A brand new, six-story building on 1550 St. Peter’s Avenue wa suggested as an alternate site.

“I am definitely in support of this project, but I don’t see why the building on St. Peter’s Avenue wasn’t considered as a potential site – it even looks like a library,” said Lou Rocco, Westchester Square Civic Association president and a resident of the area for nearly 40 years.

The new library is expected to open in 2020.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.

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