Schenectady County to Start Work on New Mont Pleasant Branch Library as Notorious Crane Street Corner Makes Way for Community Investment
Schenectady County today announced that work will begin on the construction of a new County Branch Library in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood after the City IDA took control of a notorious Crane Street Corner. The new facility will be built on the site of the former Chubby’s Pizza, adjacent to the current Mont Pleasant Library Branch, and would emulate the Bornt Branch Library and Literacy Center built last year on State Street.
“We are extremely excited for this opportunity to bring our successful Branch Library and Literacy Center model to the Mont Pleasant neighborhood,” said Holly Vellano, Chair of the County Legislature’s Committee on Libraries and Education. “It is clear that the neighborhood embraces the concept of a new branch focusing on community literacy; one that will definitely have a dramatic impact on the future success of our youth.”
The City IDA, which is administered by the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, recently took control of the site at 1032 Crane Street. The building had more than 500 police calls last year and the convenience store formerly located at the site was shut down by the City of Schenectady. The County will take possession of the site from the City IDA, demolish the buildings, and build the new branch library. Once completed, the current branch would be demolished for expanded library parking. The current branch lacks adequate space, parking, handicap access and other amenities needed to host a modern branch library and literacy center.
“We have seen the positive impact that investments in a new building like this can have on the neighborhood,” said Gary Hughes, Chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Economic Development. “This project will replace this notorious corner of blighted buildings with a new positive direction for the Crane Street business corridor.”
The new facility is designed to be used by families and children and will provide services in early childhood, family and adult literacy, financial literacy, digital literacy, and other youth and adult programming. The focus on literacy is part of a community-wide effort involving the County, City, City School District, private foundations and others to equip every member of the community with solid reading and writing skills.
The total cost of the new branch is estimated at $2.3million, with Schenectady County committing $1.55million and the remainder being contributed by the Library Board of Trustees, The Friends of the Library, The Wright Family Foundation, The Little Family Foundation, Neil and Jane Golub, and former Library Board President Esther Swanker. The County and Library staff also collaborated on a NYS Education Department grants application and other funding requests that if approved would offset costs to the County.
Demolition is anticipated to begin in September with construction of the new facility beginning in the Spring of 2018 and completion in early 2019.
“We are so proud of the success of the Phyllis Bornt Branch since its opening in February 2016,” said Carmel Patrick, President of the Library Board of Trustees. “The Library Board of Trustees now looks forward to working with the County Legislature to replicate this important community asset in Mont Pleasant, bringing together children and their families with our talented and caring Library staff members in ways that make them excited and enthusiastic about reading, and inspired to value life-long learning.”
In addition to the new Bornt Branch, and plans for replacing the Mont Pleasant facility, the Schenectady County Legislature has expanded and improved the central library downtown and made upgrades at many of the branches.
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