2008-05-23 / Top Stories

Marshall: $19.2 Million For New Library

Demise Of CUNY Plan Frees Funds
By Miriam Rosenberg

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall has allocated more than $19 million for a new library in Far Rockaway to be built on the site of the current one on the corner of Cornaga and Mott Avenues in downtown Far Rockaway. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg Queens Borough President Helen Marshall has allocated more than $19 million for a new library in Far Rockaway to be built on the site of the current one on the corner of Cornaga and Mott Avenues in downtown Far Rockaway. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg Forty years after its last renovation, the Far Rockaway Library will be demolished and replaced with a new, state-of-the-art building that will meet the demands of the busy branch, the Queens borough president's office said earlier this week.

Borough President Helen Marshall has announced she is allocating more than $19 million for the construction of a new library in Far Rockaway, to be built on the site of the existing facility at 1637 Central Avenue.

Part of that money, $9 million, was originally slated to be used to convert the old courthouse on Beach 92 Street into a City University satellite.

"We were notified recently that CUNY was no longer interested in the project because of budget cuts," said Dan Andrews, a spokesperson for Marshall, who added that the borough president wanted to keep the money in Rockaway.

"We saw a need to build a new library to replace the one that is there now, which is 40 years old," continued Andrews.

According to Andrews, the $19.2 million from the borough president's office will cover the construction cost of the new building.

The new library will be 18,000 to 20,000 square feet - more than twice the size of the current one, James Van Bramer, the director of government and community relations for the Queens Library told The Wave.

"It's too early for a timeline [on the project] since we just received the money," said Van Bramer. "It will probably be a two to three year process."

Van Bramer said that while it is also too early to talk about a specific design to replace the one story library, they would be looking at all options to increase the size - whether it is adding floors or a basement.

While no final determination has been made, Van Bramer insured The Wave that the Far Rockaway community will continue to have access to library service.

"We have the Teen Library [on Beach 20 Street and Cornaga Avenue]. What we'll probably do is retro-fit it and use it as a [temporary] space while the new library is under construction," Van Bramer said.

Andrews said the branch has 16,000 borrowers annually. There were 250,000 visitors between May 14, 2007 and May 14, 2008. "The good news is that Far Rockaway will have a brand new state of the art library to be proud of," concluded Van Bramer.

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