The Port Jefferson Free Library board and directors have had the difficult task of upgrading facilities while keeping budget neutral. The new plan includes tearing down a condemned structure and seeking means to renovate the Bayles house.
In a release, president of the library board John Grossman said a multi-year planning process called for a building additional with additional parking spaces, though due to the settlement between LIPA and the Village/Town of Brookhaven back in December of the 2018, “the Board determined it would be neither feasible nor fair to the community to pursue that level of funding.”
“We know this is the responsible direction to take so that we can step up to their service needs without incurring significant additional expense,” Grossman added.
Instead, the board voted to demolish the structure at 114 Thompson Street, which the library purchased in 2009. Demolition began Feb. 3.
Thomas Donlon, the library’s executive director, said he wasn’t there when the property was originally purchased, but suspected the library originally had nebulous plans to retrofit the building that never materialized.
The library director said the Thompson property will be regraded and buffered once demolition of the building is fully complete. Costs for that project come in at approximately $60,000.
The LIPA decision has also put a hold on the library’s original designs for a master plan, which Donlon said has been put to the side while the LIPA settlement plays out.
Currently the library rents the building across the street for teenagers and for other meetings.
Donlon said they will now be seeking a permit for renovations to the Bayles house at the corner of East Main Street and Vineyard Place for a designated teen area and additional meeting space. Costs for that project are still largely up in the air while they await that permit and for an architect to draw up designs.
“By moving those activities within the footprint of existing structures, we avoid the growing costs for renting and managing an off-site space,” Donlon said.