Saratoga County

Galway voters to get say on proposed public library

2nd referendum for expansion
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PHOTOGRAPHER:

Residents of the Galway Central School District will decide Wednesday whether to approve construction of a new library.

Voting — this will be the second referendum for an expansion of the library — will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Galway Town Hall.

During the first referendum in September of 2015, the new library plan was voted down by 42 votes because, as community representatives later said, some residents thought the project was too large and expensive.

Lenore Lanka, a Galway resident and frequent user of the library, said the current library is “bursting at the seams” because of its 23-person maximum occupancy and only five parking spaces. The Galway Library district has more than 7,000 residents.

After the first referendum failed, the library’s board of directors hosted meetings with residents to decide what features the new library should include, as they worked to adjust the expansion proposal.

“The library has worked very hard to listen to the community and adjust to what the people said they wanted,” said Board President Arlene Rhodes said.

The land on which the new library would be built has already been purchased, using a combination of funds from the Dockstader Trust and a New York State Construction grant.

A resident with a home valued at $200,000 would pay an additional $34 per year above the current library tax that varies by township to finance the 15-year bond needed to build the new library. There is a sliding scale tax increase or decrease for residents with houses valued under or over $200,000.

“It’s just something we need if we’re going to properly serve the community,” said Galway resident Lynn Kindinger.

The new plan calls for a children’s area, which would allow activities the library cannot host in its current location due to space restrictions. There are also plans for a teen area.

“As a former educator, I am over the moon about the plans for spaces designated for young people,” said Rhodes, the board president.

Rhodes and other library volunteers have been informing residents about the new library plan through community meetings, presentations at community organizations, through the library newsletter and the library’s website.

Rhodes said the library staff and volunteers “tried very hard to give people accurate information” about what residents will be voting on.

Current Library Director Deb Flint said she is looking forward to the results of next week’s referendum because the size of the current library “limits what programming we can do.”

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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