Local residents who want to save Patchogue’s Carnegie Library from held their first informal meeting Monday night at the .
Resident David Kennedy said that he organized the meeting through the comments section of a recent Patch . Six residents, three village trustees and Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri showed up to discuss how to potentially preserve the library.
“We’re an organization to help,” Kennedy said of the group, tentatively calling itself “Friends of the Carnegie Library,” during the meeting. “(We want to) let the village know we’re a voice of support out there.”
Pontieri and Village Trustee Jack Krieger left the meeting early to adhere to public meeting laws.
Discussion of the library is on the agenda for Tuesday night’s . Pontieri told Patch after the meeting that the Village Board is open to ideas from residents on how to save the building, which according to the and has been closed since 1981 when it was sold to .
“We’re going to be looking at what options we have, find out from the community suggestions they have both for uses and more importantly methods of funding it,” Pontieri said. “The concern I have is our ability to pay for this.”
Pontieri previously told Patch that the preservation of the Winona Hotel into a recreation center is costing the village $1 million. He said that his position is to preserve the library building, but that keeping the tax burden to a minimum is also important.
Village Trustee Stephen McGiff advised the new group to bring public pressure in their effort to keep the library from meeting the wrecking ball.
Rob Loscalzo, chief operation officer at Tritec, has said that the company has every intention to move the library from its current Lake Street location 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."
Village Trustee Gerard Crean said after Monday's meeting that Tritec is obligated to move the library and has been given allowances and economic incentives to follow through. Crean, however, added that he wasn't completely convinced it would happen.
"Until they [Tritec] lift the building and place it on a foundation, I'm a little suspicious," he said.
Crean, chair of Economic Development in the Village, said that he would be willing to sell the library to a private entrepreneur at a favorable rate so that it will find a use.
“Whatever the market value I’d be willing to discount that and sell it to a private entrepreneur to sell it, privatizing it and bring it under tax rules,” Crean said. “That’s the only way this is going to happen because unless we are going to get awarded some philanthropic gift.”
Crean said that he hopes that at Tuesday’s meeting the village board will determine a location for the new library. Once a location is picked, the burden falls to Tritec to move the library.
“Then the obligations are to pour the foundation, relocate the library, renovate the exterior walls and do all of the things under the relocation agreement,” Crean said.
Kennedy said during the meeting that he would like the group to become proactive quickly.
"Creating petitions is definitley on the agenda and we really have to be serious to the village board that we are going to raise money," Kennedy said.
Members of “Friends of the Carnegie Library” will be appearing at Tuesday’s meeting.
Those looking to join the group should email David Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.