Schenectady County is preparing to spend more than $2.3 million for construction of a new community library on Crane Street in Mont Pleasant.
The county Legislature’s Libraries and Education Committee on Monday night approved a $2.37 million capital budget for the project, which sends it to the full county Legislature for likely approval next Tuesday.
The move will set the money aside in the county’s capital budget, though the county isn’t expected to seek construction bids until early winter.
Schenectady Metroplex, the city Industrial Development Agency and the Capital Region Land Bank are all partners in the project, under which the county has acquired the former Chubby’s pizza location next to the current library. The county plans to build a new library on the site — one modeled on the Bornt Branch and Literacy Center that opened two years ago on Hamilton Hill.
“This is a proposal that has a lot of partners involved and is speaking to the culmination of a lot of things,” County Manager Kathleen Rooney said.
Many Mont Pleasant residents view the project as a step toward revitalizing Crane Street and the neighborhood as a whole. Chubby’s was a hotbed of crime over the years, generating more than 500 public safety calls in a nine-month period in 2015. The business was shut down in November for code violations.
“This is exactly the kind of project we want to see in our communities,” said Legislator Richard Ruzzo, D-Schenectady, chairman of the Capital Region Land Bank. “This is the kind of capital investment that sparks additional investment in the community.”
City and county officials announced two weeks ago that the site had been acquired from its previous owner, with the city IDA using eminent domain to acquire it for $150,000.
Donald Scheurer, county facilities engineer, said the budget includes final design, construction, furnishings for the new building and demolition of the old library, where parking for the new library will be located.
In addition to the county money, Rooney told the Legislature that about $740,000 has been raised privately, through the library trustees, Friends of the Schenectady County Public Library and charitable foundations, including the Wright and Golub family foundations, the Little Foundation and former library trustee Esther Swanker.
Rooney said state Education Department grants are also being sought. The private donations are included within the capital budget total. The county anticipates borrowing the rest, currently estimated at $1,628,000, but that could be reduced by state grant money.
Scheurer said the current plan is for the project to go to bid around Jan. 1, with construction starting next spring and completion and then demolition of the old library in early 2019.