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Proposed public library expansion in the Village of Hamburg on track

A grant application is still on track with the hopes of expanding the Hamburg Public Library, said Library Director Jack Edson.

“Everything is moving ahead,” he said.

There have been a few alterations to the original design that was unveiled earlier this year, but according to Edson, those involved in the project are “gung-ho” about the project and are optimistic that Hamburg will be awarded a New York State Construction Grant.

“The New York State Construction Grants are due in October,” Edson said.

If approved, Edson is hopeful that the shovel will be put in the ground in the spring of 2013.

“That’s what we’re shooting for,” Edson said.

Edson noted in April he believes the estimated cost of the project would be around $2 million to complete.

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 an “attractive 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.

Edson added that computer use is high at the facility, which originally opened in 1966.

The library director said the lot the library sits on is a house lot that expanded into the library. Being in the heart of the village, he believes it is the perfect location for a public library.

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 in the spring.

Edson said 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.

He 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, which Edson noted adds a “social feel” to the upgrades.

With the amount of hours the Hamburg Public Library is open each week, Edson said the expansion is worth the investment, especially since Hamburg is one of the few libraries remaining in the system that continue to offer Sunday hours.

They plan to use skylights to help conserve energy in the future and make the library a “green” building.

The plan also calls for new carpeting and an updated interior look.

A lot of the plan reverts to updating the technology with the addition of WiFi, making the library multi-useable for those who want to enjoy a coffee and use a computer.

There would also be more storage and additional restrooms.

The long-term goal is to make it a destination and ensure that it stays open for the long-haul.

When it comes time to do the work on the expansion, Edson said one of the goals is to make sure the library maintains its hours.

He said there could be occasional days or hours the library may be closed, but it will not be a long-term thing, like several days or weeks.


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