The Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library earned the green light to move forward with a bond to finance $22.6 million in renovations, after the community voted in approval by a slim margin Tuesday.
Under 100 votes were the difference, with “Yes” votes totaling 1,173 and “No” votes totaling 1,078. A larger bond was defeated in February of 2018, which prompted the library to go back to the drawing board for a new plan. The voter turnout this year was 2,251 compared to 3,966 in 2018.
“The December 10 passage of the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library bond proposition will enhance the quality and accessibility of vital library services for our community for decades to come,” said library board president Joseph Maiorana in a statement. “We applaud the people of the Mastics, Moriches, and Shirley for the visionary investment they have made in their community’s future.”
“It’s very hopeful for the future,” said Kerri Rosalia, library director. “We know that we can make a difference in the community by providing [these] library services.”
Now that the vote has passed, library officials will take 12 months to draft design documents for the annex buildings, which will then go to public bid. Once the documents are approved by the NYS Department of Education, there will be approximately 12 to 16 months of construction at the Moriches and Mastic Beach annexes. They are scheduled to open in 2021.
Starting in 2021 or when the annexes are finished, the main library in Shirley will be closed for renovations for an additional 12 to 16 months. Main library construction will be completed in late 2022, with an opening scheduled for early 2023, according to the library, and all buildings will be operational and open to the public. The annual operating cost for each annex is about $500,000.
LITTLE RED SCHOOLHOUSE
After community pushback on a plan to demolish the Little Red Schoolhouse in Moriches, the library committed $1 million from library reserves to save the structure – about half of what is needed. The rest of the funding would need to come from other sources.
The library’s plan is to “recreate” the schoolhouse on the same site as the new annex for the library. It is possible that the two buildings could be connected. The 7,000 square foot facility would look similar to the schoolhouse.
How long will the community pay for the bond?
Mastic Beach Satellite Branch: $502,426, 10 years*
Moriches Satellite Branch: $5,836,880, 30 years
Main Library: $16,351,658, 25 Years
*Library contribution to offset the cost of the Mastic Beach Satellite Branch