The Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library board has rescheduled a special meeting to vote on a $26.7 million renovation and expansion proposal until 5 p.m. Friday.
Library board president Joseph Maiorana said he wanted to give the public the opportunity to attend the special meeting and that rescheduling was “in the interest of transparency.”
The originally scheduled public meeting, which was posted on the library’s website Monday night and was set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, conflicted with a private “mandatory staff training” meeting from 5-6:30 p.m., during which the library’s staff was educated on the details of the proposal.
Friday’s vote will follow several community presentations the board has conducted about the proposal. If approved, it would include a major overhaul to the existing main building, building out the former Mastic Beach Village Hall, which the library purchased earlier this year, and building a new 7,000-square-foot annex where the current Little Red Schoolhouse in Moriches now stands.
The library is in discussions to have the William Floyd School District, which plans to raze the nearly 100-year-old structure, donate the site.
Maiorana, director Kerri Rosalia and the library’s outside engineering consultant, gave a presentation on the proposal to the Pattersquash Creek Civic Association Monday night at the Mastic Beach Fire House.
The group’s members were largely in favor of the proposal, which would add $86 in annual property taxes, but some voiced skepticism.
Aida Metzel, of Mastic Beach, questioned whether a Moriches annex was even necessary.
Others noted a recent Newsday article in which former Mastic Beach mayor Maura Spery voiced her opposition, saying the Mastic Beach location would eat away at available space for developers.
“For the type of foot traffic the library would bring… it can upstart economic development,” he said.
“Personally, I think it would be great for Neighborhood Road,” said Frank Delustro, president of the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association, stressing that he was speaking for himself.
Neither the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association or the Pattersquash Creek Civic Association are taking official positions on the issue.
Still others have a sentimental attachment to the Little Red Schoolhouse, which has not been used as a school for years. One resident has launched a petition to make it a local landmark.
However, William Floyd School District President Bob Vecchio said the building is “not sound historically” and would require a major financial investment. He said the board feels a library annex would be a better alternative than selling the property, which could eventually put control of the site in private hands.
Maiorana added that the library’s board “appreciates the sentimental attachment that many of our residents have for the Little Red School House” and that the board wants “to honor the memories that many residents have for the building, and believe the proposed design is reflective of what the building used to look like.”
“The building is coming down one way or another,” Vecchio told members of the civic group.
If approved, a referendum on the proposal would go up for a vote in December.
By the numbers
Main Building renovation: $16,351,358
Mastic Beach Addition and Alterations: $4.502,426
Moriches Annex New Building: $5,836,880
Source: Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library