Sep. 17—PLATTSBURGH — More than $300,000 in state grants between this year and last support Plattsburgh Public Library construction projects, including a new roof planned for this fall.
"What I'm most proud of is that we're not accumulating debt," Director Anne de la Chappelle said. "We're not putting that on the city or the taxpayers or anybody else. We're saving our money each year and when we have enough money we're actually doing these projects.
"I feel proud that we're not leaving debt for the next generation."
New York State awarded Plattsburgh Public Library just over $298,000 last year to help the library get a new roof and update a basement storage space.
As is typical with such funds, the state monies covers nearly 75% of estimated project costs.
The new roof alone is estimated at about $360,000 and the library has $100,000 set aside in its capital reserve fund to further support the project, de la Chappelle said.
"It's in really bad shape. We had it repaired last year in the areas where it was really leaking."
The library director noted the Oak Street building's leaky roof history, saying it had led to some noticeable rusting over the years.
"I guess it was put on in the late '90s and, from what I understand, it leaked from the get-go. Before I had anything to do with the Plattsburgh Public Library I remember the articles in the paper and the buckets catching water — it's long overdue."
While those funds were administered last year, de la Chappelle requested an extension for that project.
"Last year there was such a shortage of construction workers, materials were expensive — if you could even get them," she said. "So I just put this on hold."
Plattsburgh Public Library now has through July 2022 to complete the project.
"We're hoping we can get it out to bid soon and hopefully get it done before winter," de la Chappelle said.
Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) recently announced another $8,600 for the Plattsburgh Public Library to make other necessary renovations.
"Libraries help foster a love of learning and a sense of community," Jones said in a statement. "They also provide community members of all ages and backgrounds with crucial resources, including family support, computer and internet access and job search assistance.
"Libraries and the people who utilize them deserve to have every tool they need to succeed, and I'm happy to help our library remain a safe space in the community."
The monies was written into a $14 million capital fund Assemblyman Jones helped to secure in the 2020-21 state budget.
Plattsburgh Public Library has already put some dollars to work, adding an air purifier to its elevator, replacing two plate windows and plans to replace its exterior steel basement door.
Crews this week prepared to repave the library's driveway, which it shares with its next-door neighbor: Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System.
"They own 65% of the driveway, so we're pooling our resources and dividing the costs appropriately," de la Chappelle said.
Library construction projects are not anticipated to disrupt operations.
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