Penn Yan Library Board OKs alternative plan

Loujane Johns

Members of the Penn Yan Public Library Board voted at a Feb. 7 meeting to present the alternative plan for library construction to the voters on April 22.  The approved plan is estimated at $7.8 million down from almost $9 million in the first plan. 

The board estimates the cost to taxpayers will be about 48 cents per $1000 of home assessed value for a 21 year bond.  The board is also actively seeking funding which would reduce the taxpayers amount.

On Jan. 24 the board met to decide on which option to chose.  The more costly project included extra support for the building in order to accommodate a second story, if needed in the future.  The selected plan does include some special supports because of the weight of the building with books and soil considerations.

At the Jan. 24 meeting some members felt they were not ready to make a decision between the two plans.  They wanted to see if they could gather more public input. 

The first of three public information meetings was held at the library on Feb. 8.  The theme of the campaign is “Helping an Old Friend,” referring to the long standing Carnegie-built community landmark.  Director Lynn Overgaard talked about the lack of space in the presentation.  She pointed out that the public meeting room that the attendees were seated in, only holds 15 people and since it is on the lower level is not handicapped accessible. The plan calls for a large meeting area to provide for library programs. 

“With space, the library could offer more programs to the community,” Overgaard said.  She told the audience the library has six computers in a very small space.  “It is difficult for two people, such as a child and parent, to work at one computer.  One computer can only be used as a stand-up computer,” she added.

The number of young adult users is growing according to Overgaard.  There has been an increase in after-school program participants.

The floor plan calls for a large area of open space. One area will be devoted to a “quiet space,” where an increased number of periodicals will be available. Parking has been a problem at the facility, due to the increased parking around the county complex.  In the plan space for 30 vehicles will be provided by “tuck-in” parking.

Charles Marks said people had been asking about green space due to the area of ground covered in the project.  Overgaard said there would not be a lot, but that the Master Gardeners had expressed interest in helping in that area.

Another audience member asked how the library would operate during the construction.  Overgaard said they have  already been told they can’t stay there during construction.  She said, “We are open to any ideas the public might have for use of interim facilities.”

Another public forum was held on Feb. 12 and the final forum will be on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. in the library.  Presentations will also be made to many community organizations. 

If you have a group of 10 or more and are interested in hearing about the new building, call Overgaard at 315-536-6114, to schedule a tour and information session.