BY JON CRONIN
Community Board 9 and other local leaders are trying to prevent major overhauls of the Richmond Hill and Woodhaven libraries from overlapping.
Raj Rampershad, chairman of CB 9, said he recently met with Queens Library representatives and that there might be a period of six months during which both libraries would be closed.
Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Queens Library, said that the library is working to make sure that the two projects do not overlap. She added that the full proposal for both projects will be presented at CB 9’s October meeting.
She said that in a recent meeting with Rampershad, the team discussed ways “to minimize the impact of the closure on the community. A plan for alternative library service will be finalized by the time we present the renovation proposal to the full board in the fall.”
De Bourbon added that construction for the Richmond Hill Library is expected to begin in the winter and that the library’s intention is to ensure that the Woodhaven branch will not be closed at the same time.
Rampershad said he was told by the library’s team that information regarding the closures will be available by the third week of September. He added that he does not want to discourage the renovations.
“Richmond Hill 100 percent needs that renovation,” he said. “It’s a very old building.”
However, he is worried about the 18-month timeline for the renovation.
“I’m in the business,” said Rampershad, who is an architect. “Things always come up.”
Rampershad said that while the library is closed, local residents would be able to access resources via a double-wide trailer.
“I just want to make sure the resources are always there for the people,” he said. “How many can you fit in a trailer?”
He said that he hopes the library’s team will provide a more definitive schedule for the two renovations.
In June, a spokeswoman for the library told the Queens Tribune that the Richmond Hill branch currently has an annual visitor count of nearly 174,000, making it the 16th-most- heavily-trafficked library in the system. It has a circulation of 163,200, which is the 22nd-largest in the system.
Both libraries are categorized as being in the “in design” phase on the Queens Library’s website.
The $9 million Richmond Hill Library project was funded by the City Council and state Senate and Assembly. It will provide for the gutting of the building; new HVAC systems; an elevator; fully accessible restrooms and entrance ramp; installation of new self-check equipment; and new furniture, fixtures and equipment. The estimated completion date is the fall of 2019.
The Woodhaven Library renovation will provide a new ADA ramp, elevator and roof as well as exterior masonry repointing, a new HVAC system and the restoration of original masonry openings to install new windows. The library will gain a new meeting room and children’s library when its basement is renovated. The $7 million project is estimated to be completed in the fall of 2020.
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin.