By Liz Button
The Eastchester Public Library has been awarded the $6,714 state grant it put in for last year to replace 39 fluorescent fixtures with LED energy-efficient light fixtures and install new ceiling tile as part of a series of children’s room renovations completed earlier this year.
The reimbursement comes from the state’s $14 million Public Library Construction Grant Program in its 2013 budget, which designates funding for new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings and renovation of existing building space.
Democratic state Sen. George Latimer of Rye and state Assemblywoman Amy Paulin of Scarsdale announced Eastchester’s award on June 13.
“Our libraries are centerpieces of every community and it’s important they continue to thrive and provide valuable resources to local residents,” Latimer said. “Between programs, facilities and many other services, these funds will allow our local libraries to continue providing those services at a continued or even greater level.”
Other project activities and expenditures eligible for grants through the state program include the purchase and installation of alternative energy resources and new HVAC systems, windows, doors and lighting systems, electrical upgrades and construction of new or replacement of old walkways and parking lots.
The grant also provides for purchasing new furniture, shelving and equipment to be used in new or newly renovated building space.
“Any amount of additional funding, big or small, helps our libraries better maintain their facilities while keeping costs at a minimum,” Paulin said.
Apart from the state funds Eastchester Public Library Director Tracy Wright sought for new lights and ceiling tiles, the successful completion of $60,000 in renovations to the children’s room was achieved through fundraising efforts by the Friends of the Eastchester Library, along with corporate grants and a contribution from the town to install new carpeting. The library hosted a grand re-opening celebration in March.
This summer, Wright said she plans to apply to the Public Library Construction Grant Program provided for in next year’s state budget for a much larger sum: funding for a new roof.
If approved, Wright said, these funds will be used to replace the entire library roof, which has long suffered from major leaks and has required the use of temporary patches, including one in the children’s room, as a holding measure.
Wright said she will submit the paperwork for this project in August, once the next grant cycle begins.
If the library gets the roof grant, the Town of Eastchester, which adopted its $1.5 million capital budget in April, will have to match half of the $300,000 cost of the project in the amount of $150,000.
Whether Eastchester also receives the entire sum for roofing depends on the types of projects other libraries across the county plan to undertake since each library system receives a set amount of money from the state.