MOOERS — The Mooers Free Library may be on the move.
Town Council members and library officials are considering building a new community complex that could house more than just books, but the location is still to be determined.
“We would like to have it on the same property as the Fire Department and the current town office; that way, we have everything right there,” Town Supervisor Cory Ross said.
But Mooers Volunteer Fire Department President Jeff Menard isn’t sure that is an ideal location for the new building.
“I think it’s a great idea but not on Fire Department property,” he said.
Menard is concerned that the proposed site, located near the back of the Fire Department parking lot at 2508 Route 11, would crowd the area and take away valuable space.
“The town just decided to build this on the department complex, but we don’t want any more buildings. We use that area for our Labor Day fundraiser,” he said.
But changes to the library are inevitable.
“The current library is not handicap accessible,” Ross said. “And to make those renovations would cost more than the building is worth.”
Due to new regulations, it is mandatory that the library make the necessary changes to become handicap accessible, according to Library Director Jackie Madison.
She said the current building, located at 2430 Route 11, is old and dilapidated.
“It’s starting to deteriorate. I was walking around the outside the other day and noticed a chunk out of the corner on the back of the building. We also saw a couple of cracks in the brick.”
In order to make the current library accessible, renovations would need to be completed on all doorways and in the bathrooms, and an elevator or lift would also be required.
PAYING FOR IT
Ross is interested in putting the library building up for bid and using the proceeds to help fund the new community complex.
“We have money set aside, and the library put in for a grant and got it. If we sold the building, we would use that money also,” he said. “It would be no cost to the taxpayers. But now is our opportunity to act because the money is there.”
He formed a special committee to discuss the next steps. The Town Council also passed a resolution enabling the current library building to be put up for sale.
Ross said it really comes down to where the new library will be located.
“My suggestion was to just put an addition on the front of the current library before completely throwing the building out,” Menard said.
Madison would like to use the space to expand the library’s current programs and create new events.
“We would make it a place for young and old to get together,” she said.
She is interested in having job-skills training, computer classes, more space for meetings, possible movie nights and maybe even a Wii competition sometime in the future.
“Libraries are really a great resource for everyone in the community,” she said. “Anyone can it enjoy it. And whether they make a dollar or they make a million dollars, they all get the same level of service at the library.”
Ross hopes the move will bring everyone together.
“It’s a good thing for this town. It never hurts when we can add something new, and since we already have snow and garbage removal there (at the fire station/town offic, it will be more efficient for the town, he said.
He said, so far, reaction to the proposed project has been positive.
“Everyone seems really excited,” he added.
Menard said he certainly understands the need for the renovations and a new building, but he hopes the location is still up for discussion.
“We need to get the word out about this. Maybe someone has some land they would like to donate because it’s a great project,” he said.
“We’re just in a real dilemma here.”
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