Voters approved a $22.7 million bond to renovate the existing Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library in Shirley and create branches in Mastic Beach and Moriches.
The 1173-1078 win, according to library board president Joseph Maiorana, follows previous bond proposal failures in 2006 and 2018.
Maiorana said the library is going to “move right away into the final design of the two branches,” and when those are constructed, it will move out of the main library while the final design is complete and construction is underway.
“We’re beyond grateful the community found a way to address the significant problems that we face at the main branch,” he said.
Today’s proposal calls for renovations to the main library, renovations and an expansion to the former Mastic Beach village hall that the library purchased earlier this year, as well as the construction of 7,000-square-foot building behind the Little Red Schoolhouse in Moriches.
By 4:45 p.m., library director Kerri Rosalia said she was “optimistic” about the chances that the proposal would pass. Compared to the 2018 vote, the library wasn’t overwhelmed in terms of foot traffic at the open.
“We’ve seen a lot of families and friends of the library, and people are still asking questions. We love informed voters.”
She said traffic was “slow and steady” at about 150 people per hour.
Linda Griffin, of Mastic Beach, voted yes, in part, she said, because she lives near the branch on Neighborhood Road.
Eddie Fitzgerald, 71, of Shirley, said that as a senior citizen, he doesn’t use the library’s services, and as a result doesn’t find the need to spend the extra tax dollars.
Officials said the bond will raise taxes on the average home assessed at $1,995 by about $86 per year.
Sean Lewis, 52, of Mastic, who has been a vocal online critic of the proposal and the library board in the face of what he considered to be a lack of transparency and too large of a project.
Lewis added that the civic and community groups that have voiced support for the proposal didn’t reflect the entire community.
But the majority of voters didn’t agree.
“I’m in favor,” said Laurie Fitzwilliam, of Shirley. “Education is very important to the future of our children. And the library is much in need of improvements.”