Thursday, August 2, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne: State awards over half million in funding for library improvements in River District

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, has announced that over a half million in state funding is headed to libraries in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties in the 116th Assembly District.

Assemblywoman Jenne said the funding awards range from $249,034 for the Potsdam Public Library's interior renovation to $9,934 to the Canton Free Library for improvements to its lighting and HVAC systems.

Other North Country libraries awarded funding in the latest round include:

• Roswell P. Flowers Memorial Library, Watertown: $50,841; Interior renovations including upgrade of HVAC system.

• Massena Public Library, $35,367; Interior renovations and outdoor programming area.

• Morristown Public Library, $135,725; Interior work on library building addition.

• Ogdensburg Public Library, $56,551; Install gutters and replace deteriorating retaining wall and exterior doors.

"I've worked with a number of these libraries over the years to ensure they have the funding they need to maintain their often historic buildings in our communities as well to upgrade their facilities to meet the needs of today's library users," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

"I have often said our libraries and schools are the hearts and souls of our communities. Just like I fight for equitable funding for our schools, I think it is equally important to provide the funding to support the libraries in our small towns, villages and cities," she noted.

"The habits of our library users have changed over the past few decades, but they remain jewels in our community. Today they help equal the playing field in our communities by offering access to technology for users from all backgrounds," Assemblywoman Jenne added.

The funds are from $24 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects provided in the FY2017-2018 State Budget.

New York’s public libraries are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading. A recent survey showed a documented need for public library construction and renovation projects totaling more than $1.7 billion.

More than 51 percent of the over 1,000 public library buildings in communities across New York are over 60 years old. Another 33 percent are more than three decades old.

Project activities and expenditures eligible for funding from the State Aid for Library Construction Program include financing construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings, and the renovation and/or rehabilitation of existing space.

Projects may include roof replacement, purchase and installation of alternative energy resources, new HVAC systems, windows, doors, lighting systems, electrical upgrades, and construction of new or replacement of old walkways and parking lots. Broadband infrastructure projects are also eligible.

New furniture, shelving and equipment, including computer equipment, may be purchased for new or newly reconfigured or renovated space. Renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities are a high priority.

In the FY2018-2019 State Budget, the Legislature provided $34 million for projects that will be announced in summer 2019.