The Hamburg Public Library expansion project is gearing up toward its next phase and the Hamburg Town Board passed a resolution Monday (Jan. 14) to hire Zaxis Architectural, P.C., to provide engineering and architectural services, while the mayor of Hamburg offered critical remarks aimed at the town board.
Town Supervisor Steven Walters told the board during the work session that the project is expected to begin sometime in June. He said the cost is still estimated at around $2 million to complete the expansion of the library, which he said will be done in five phases over two years.
According to Walters, this is an important phase because the drawings that were brought before the board by the Hamburg Public Library Board were conceptual drawings.
“It’s beyond conceptual design,” Walters said.
According to Walters, the biggest change in the plan is that the plan now calls for the HVAC component to be completed sooner after the air conditioning unit broke in July.
“The heating component is starting not to work as it should,” Walters said.
Back in the fall, the board successfully sought a New York State Construction Grant.
At that time, Hamburg Public Library Director Jack Edson said 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.
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 multiuse for those who want to enjoy a coffee and use a computer.
There would also be more storage and additional restrooms.
In other news, Hamburg Village Mayor Thomas Moses, Sr., was in attendance at Monday’s meeting and was critical of the board and hopes that they find a way to work together better in 2013.
“I don’t like what I see,” Moses said, noting that “we have to serve the people.”
Moses pointed to the fact that the village dealt with similar issues a decade ago when they forced village residents to put clear plastic garbage bags out to the curb each week.
“We were looked down upon drastically,” Moses said.
“We’ve got to take a look at what we do and who we serve,” Moses said.
Moses told the board he does not like what he is seeing and reading in the newspaper, adding that he believes they are not serving their constituents in an “orderly fashion.”
“Start the new year off good,” Moses pleaded. “Work together and be a good, wholesome community.”
Councilman Joseph Collins said he is not opposed to the idea of an outside source coming in as an unbiased third party to help improve the situation.
Moses responded that he hopes that the issues can be resolved internally among board members.
“I was a little surprised that the mayor made those remarks,” Walters said.
The supervisor said part of what dissapointed him was that Monday’’s meeting, which was just over a half an hour long, was a good meeting and not a “dysfunctional meeting.”
“It was a quiet meeting. A very good meeting,” Walters said, adding that he believed Moses’ comments were unprofessional. Part of what caught the supervisor off guard was the timing of the comments.
“The meeting was (almost) over and nothing had happened that night,” Walters said.
• Also on Monday night, the board appointed Mathew C, Sherry, Jonathan Cross and Mindy L. Jendrowski to fill the vacant police officer positions with the Town of Hamburg Police Department at a salary of $22.13 per hour.
The appointments are effective Jan. 20.
• The Hamburg Town Board will hold its next meeting beginning with a work session at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 28 at Hamburg Town Hall, 6100 South Park Ave. The board will then hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m.