PY Library Board wants public to know facts

Loujane Johns

Members of the Penn Yan Library Board met in a special session on Jan. 24 to discuss which of two proposed plans to pursue for the renovation project.  A public vote for a bond referendum to finance the project will take place in the spring.

The board recently learned that a soil test taken revealed glacial silt beneath the area (not quicksand as earlier reported).  This type of ground will require extra support structure for the building containing thousands of volumes of books and equipment. 

The first proposal considers the renovation plus the extra support options for a second floor.  The 1982 addition was ideal at the time, but did not allow for future expansion. 

By providing the extra support now a second floor could be added when needed in the future.  The cost of the supports adds about $880,000 to the project, but with the rising cost of building materials could possibly save money down the road.

Members then considered the second option, which would eliminate the added supports for a future second floor.  The basic plan for both options calls for renovation of the original Carnegie Building built in 1905. 

Director Lynn Overgaard said the front would be restored to its original look and this building would house some offices and most of the mechanical equipment to run the building.  The 1982 addition would be replaced with a 17,500 square foot one-story addition.  This would put the entire library area on one floor instead of three.

President Marty Roberts and Overgaard both said the board had spent a lot of time taking many things into consideration when planning the building. Overgaard said cost cuts and filling the needs of the public were looked at carefully. 

Member Peter Gamba said he was trying to compile a figure per thousand of assessment so the public will have an idea how the project will effect them.

When broken down this way he doesn’t think the figure is as high as people might think.  He said people have told him they are glad the library is staying where it is. 

“We are planning for our children and our children’s children, but we have to tell them how we got there, “ Gamba said.

Carolyn Symonds said she would like to get more public input.  She made a motion not to vote on a plan that night until people are informed about the choices.  The rest of the members voted in agreement.  Roberts asked members to talk with people to get a sense of how the public feels about each proposal in the next few weeks.

The board will make a decision on which proposal to offer for vote at a special meeting on Feb. 7. 

Then they will hold three public forums: Friday, Feb. 8 at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. to answer questions. 

They have also scheduled presentations to community groups and organizations from February until the voting takes place on April 22.