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Southern Ulster TimesHighland Library nearing completion

Highland Library nearing completion

Recently, Highland Library Board of Trustees President Joanne Lowenthal informed the Town Board and the community that they are expecting to open the new library at 14 Elting Place within a few months.

The library will likely be closed in November and into December to allow time for the staff to move the present collection and related materials as they transition into the new facility.

Lowenthal said they certainly will be open by January 2018.

“We’re saying new year, new library; it might be a week or two before that [but] hopefully not at all later,” she said. “We will probably do a soft opening first and then get together with everyone in the community to celebrate the ribbon cutting for a grand opening. It will be happening in the next two or three months.”

The new Highland Public Library is nearing completion and is expected to open in late December or early January.

The present library building at 30 Church Street is for sale for $235,000 and eventually will be back on the tax roll. The sale will help to offset some capital expenditures or could be used to create a maintenance fund for the new library.

Voters approved $4,855,433 to build a new library and the project has received $453,000 in legislative grant assistance; $200,000 from NYS Sen. George Amedore, $250,000 from NYS Assemblyman Frank Skartados and $3,000 in NYS “Bullet” Aid in 2016-17. Additionally, in the last two years the library procured two Division of Library Grants – for $81,000 and a second for approximately $50,000. The library itself, through fundraising and donations, has collected $36,000.

When completed the Project Value will be approximately $5,425,433 but has a tax impact locked at $4,855,433.

Lowenthal said the public can contribute to the project by purchasing a personalized engraved paving stone that will be placed in the garden in front of the library. Paving stones begin at $75 for a 4” x 8” stone and go up to $500 for a 12”x12” piece. She said the public can also make donations that will be used for a variety of needed articles; rockers, benches, chairs, data power supplies, privacy screening and shelving to name a few items.

Lowenthal pointed out that at the time of the library vote they promised not to add additional staff or any other significant items to their overall budget.

“It that ever happens it will happen during the normal course of conversation with the community and the budgeting process. When we talk, and that will be next year’s big job for us, is to really engage again and discuss whether the hours that we’re open is enough or does the community want more and be willing to support more.” She said there has been a concentrated focus on children’s programs, what activities will be in the community room and how to increase adult programs.

By Mark Reynolds

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