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Carnegie Library May Be Demolished

Landmark in danger if Village cannot afford to maintain the building, mayor says.

The Carnegie Library could soon be no more as Patchogue Village officials wrestle with how to maintain the historic building.

The building, which according to Preserve Nation, has been closed since 1981 when it was sold to . It is currently located on Lake Street, and is scheduled to be moved to a site within Patchogue Village to accomodate .

However, Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri told Patch that while he wants to keep the library, the costs involved in maintaining the building combined with the new state-mandated two percent tax cap may limit an available revenue stream to support it.

“I’ve talked about how important that library is to me, but there’s a realistic piece that says if we don’t have a use for it how do we carry the cost?” Pontieri said. “How do I say to the taxpayer we have a building here that no one wants to use and have to carry the cost of it?”

After being re-located, which Tritec is obligated to do as part of the development plan, the library will still require hook ups to utilities whether or not it is being used.

Pontieri says that the current restoration of the is an indication of the kind of costs the Village faces in restoring Carnegie Library.

“We are spending right now a million dollars on the restoration of the Winona,” Pontieri said. “Can we afford another million dollars to restore this building?”

The mayor said the village board needs to discuss if there is a use for the library that can justify funding it through taxpayer dollars.

“That’s where the discussion lies," Pontieri said. "It doesn't lie in whether it's historic or not, it’s whether we can afford it."

Rob Loscalzo, chief operation officer at Tritec, says that the company has every intention to still move the library if the Village is on board. The company currently owns the land the library sits on as part of its in downtown Patchogue.

“Our intention was always to donate it to them if it has sentimental value," Loscalzo said. "We are following the Village’s lead on that."

If the Village does not want the library moved, Tritec will demolish it, Loscalzo said.

Between 1886 and 1919, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated more than $40 million to build 1,679 public libraries across the country, according to the National Trust For Historic Preservation. The Patchogue library holds a special place for several residents, who have previously commented on Patch about its importance.

“There aren't many left, and we have this hidden gem in Patchogue Village. It needs to be preserved and protected,” said in regards to .

"These libraries were a great source of pride to the communities that received them," Ann Salvatore says in her . "Today, across the nation, cities still fortunate to have a Carnegie Library have utilized the buildings in different ways. While some are still operating as libraries, others now serve as community centers or museums."

Pontieri said that the Carnegie Library discussion will continue at next .

cynthia ramirez October 08, 2011 at 05:48 AM
Do Campbell and Olga know about this building? I think it would be wonderful if it could be used for their cinema? The architecture of the building would work I think. I believe they are renting the artspace area now but if the Carnegie library were moved maybe they could rent it or do something with it. Just a suggestion. I hope it can be salvaged and maintained. I sure would hate to see it squashed. After all it was a gift.
cynthia ramirez October 08, 2011 at 05:49 AM
i like that suggestion too.
cynthia ramirez October 08, 2011 at 05:58 AM
Why doesn't anyone have one of those fancy $250 plate fund raiser's to save and preserve the building. Instead of the money going to a campaign have it go for the building. If a candidate can gather millions for the run for an office why can't they raise the money to save the building. Please Mr Mayor save the Library.
Dan Ziegler October 08, 2011 at 12:10 PM
What a shame... If a suitable location can be found I and several other Long Island investor groups could certainly find a worthy, high-end, respectable and viable commercial use for such a wonderful building. Think outside the box Patchogue – Historical centers, Senior Center, Visitor centers do not generate sufficient revenue for long term survival of a building such as this. A Restaurant, Club or other sustainable commercial activity that can maintain the integrity of this architectural gem as well as breathe new life into a re-purposed building is what is truly needed. With the current mindset of Tritec and the Mayor, I doubt any of this will come to fruition. Been there, Done that! Find me a zoned location that can accommodate parking for a food-service operation and I’ll bring you a buyer in 30 days. Nothing has changed in my plans for this building since 2005. Only the players, not the plan. If only the W-Hotel was built, what a glorious site we would have had! I have a rather large historical whitepaper on this building as well as full business plan if anyone finds her a home. Let me know...
Jack October 08, 2011 at 02:59 PM
Patchogue does have a historical society. The building should become part of the Historical Society, a museum dedicated to the history of our community.

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