The Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library is moving ahead with plans to create a branch at the former Mastic Beach Village Hall on Neighborhood Road following the April 2 approval of a $364,000 increase to its budget.
Board President Joseph Maiorana, of Shirley, who was re-elected to a five-year term, said the board is talking to the building’s owner about a five-year lease with an option to buy at its current market value.
Following renovations, including an expansion of the building’s size from 4,000 to 7,000 square feet, the library hopes to open sometime in early 2020.
Maiorana said the library is still in negotiations with the owner. It has been appraised for under $1 million.
The library would be able to buy the building using its reserves and not seek a public bond. “That’s going to save taxpayers a lot of money,” Maiorana said. The library could “walk away without further obligation” at the end of five years if for some reason the agreement doesn’t work out, he added.
However, Maiorana said, “the Mastic Beach branch is a unique opportunity in that the cost is so much less than what we explored throughout the community. It’s our hope to play a significant role in the economic revitalization of downtown Mastic Beach.”
“I think it’s going to be a tremendous success for Mastic Beach,” which makes up 40 percent of the library’s population, Maiorana said.
“We would like to have a variety of library services there. Children’s services in a community that has been historically underserved is tremendously important to the board of trustees.”
After a plan to build a new library failed at the ballot in 2018, the library is also seeking options to either renovate the existing main 40,000-square-foot facility or build a new one.
“We’re going to have a few community meetings in the near future, and following that the board will have to make a determination on which way to go,” Maiorana said. “Whatever we do with our main facility, that’s going to require us to get bonds.”