Rendering of the proposed Hamburg Public Library expansion on Buffalo Street.
The grant application process with the hopes of renovating the Hamburg Public Library is complete and the Hamburg Town Board approved it during a special meeting Wednesday morning (Sept. 5).
The Hamburg Town Board agreed to apply for a matching grant for the $1.3 million for Phase 1 of the project, which if successful, is expected to begin in 2013.
“(The project) would be spread over two calendar years,” said Hamburg Public Library Director Jack Edson, noting that if the library receives the funding through the New York State Construction Grant program, the remaining portion of the project, which would be around $900,000, would be sought in a grant next year for 2014.
The grant application will now be sent to the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System. “The central library administers the grant,” Edson said, noting they will review applications until Oct. 20.
There have been a few alterations to the original design that was unveiled earlier this year.
Hamburg Public Library Director Jack Edson recently said he is hopeful that if the application is approved, the shovel will be put in the ground in the spring of 2013.
If the project moves forward, the total amount would be just over $2.2 million.
In recent years, some libraries in Erie County have shut its doors, while others have reduced hours. As a result, libraries such as Hamburg is seeing an increase in the number of visitors, as it still operates at 60 hours a week.
One of the main parts of the project is that a bigger meeting room would be built to accommodate the programs. The expansion would push the building out toward the Rosewood Village senior facility.
Under the original plan, it called for the driveway off Buffalo Street to be on a portion of land currently owned by Rosewood. Edson said the two sides were unable to reach an agreement, so the updated plan will not include that driveway, but there will be an entrance off Union Street.
Under the current plan, Edson said a path would be placed which would allow patrons to get to the building from Buffalo Street on foot.
If the project moves forward, the plan calls for a library area that is much more open and round.
Computer use is high at the facility, which originally opened in 1966, and the increased use in technology is one reason why the proposal to renovate it was made.
The library board first began to discuss the idea in the fall of 2010. At that time, they met with the Hamburg Town Board to express their desire to expand the current facility and modernize it to prepare for the future.
After that initial meeting, they decided to hire an architect and came back with more concrete plans before the town board nearly a month ago.
One of the biggest issues the library has faced in the last several years is maintaining its ramp for handicapped accessibility.
It has been fixed several times and part of the plan is for there to be a circular indoor entrance for the ramp that will not have to be fixed for several years or deal with the elements, as the current one does.
Edson said the plan calls for a “large, curve shaped building” with the accessible ramp “along the side.” In the updated plan, it flips the ramp from one side to the other.
There will be a much larger meeting room than originally sought and a coffee bar is in the plans.
Hamburg is one of the few libraries remaining in the system that offers Sunday hours.
A lot of the plan reverts to updating the technology with the addition of WiFi, making the library multiuse for those who want to enjoy a coffee and use a computer.
There would also be more storage and additional restrooms.