Voters in Stillwater approved a referendum on a $4.4 million project Tuesday that will triple the size of the village library.
The measure, which passed 350-191, will begin plans this fall for the purchase of the Stillwater Fiber Mill at 712 Hudson Ave., a former factory converted into apartments that stands several hundred feet from the current library, a 147-year-old church.
The former St. John’s Episcopal Church has been home to the library since 1959, just 10 years after it was formed. Interior space measures 2,650 square feet and is divided inefficiently, with a number of levels connected only by stairs.
The new space just up Route 4 is 8,528 square feet and should provide enough space for years to come, Library Director Sara Kipp told the Gazette last month.
Projected cost to property owners would be $35.18 per year for each $100,000 of assessed property value for 20 years. The library will seek donations and grants to reduce the taxpayer cost.
The village’s two representatives in the state Legislature, Assembly Member Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, and Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, announced success on that front in early September: a $337,500 state grant toward purchase of the Fiber Mill.
It’s a solidly constructed building and its structural components were not modified during the conversion to apartments, Kipp said last month. The interior will have to be reverted from apartments to open space, and a two-story lobby with elevator will be constructed. Access for patrons with disabilities is a noted challenge at the current location.
Like the existing library, the Fiber Mill sits on the edge of the Hudson River, but it’s out of the flood zone.
Water rises into the parking lot of the current library almost every year but has never gotten into the building, according to Kipp.
Construction will begin next year, and occupancy is targeted for November 2023.
The library will remain open in its current location until the project is complete. Village officials have expressed interest in potentially using the former church as village offices after the library collection is moved out.