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Commission signs off on preliminary Glendale Library revamp

By Sarina Trangle

The city Design Commission signed off Monday on preliminary remodeling plans for the Glendale Library, but elevators, ramps and other accessibility features will not be rolled out for years.

The commission unanimously approved the initial $2.8 million project, which will add a wheelchair accessible entrance, elevator service to all three floors, a 24-hour book drop and other improvements.

The city Department and Design, which is handling the project, said it hopes to have final construction plans before the Design Commission in April 2015, which if approved, could then be put out to bid.

The Queens Library said it intends to debut the revamped 78-60 73rd Place library in spring 2017.

The work comes on the heels of interior construction that created a seating area in the mezzanine.

The community was clamoring for ADA-compliant additions for those who rely on wheelchairs or canes or otherwise have impaired physical abilities to the 1935-era Italian Renaissance-style building.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) allocated $2.5 million in discretionary funding to the initiative and the borough president’s office kicked in $300,000.

Joanne King, director of communications for the Queens Library, said the work was part of a systemwide campaign to revamp aging buildings for modern users.

“About two-third of them have already been done,” she said. “They didn’t consider computers in 1935, and handicap accessibility wasn’t part of the mix then. In every community there is individual consideration given to the original character of the building and what’s needed in the area.”

Besides ADA work, the library is slated to have adult and teen reading rooms added on the main floor, self-check in equipment installed near the circulation desk and adjustments to make the front staircase, shelving, furniture and garden more historically accurate.

DDC spokesman Craig Chin said several windows currently covered in bricks will be replaced with translucent panes. He added that the garden will get new pavement, masonry walls and a fresh fountain as well as newly-planted native greenery.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-e260-4546 or by e-mail at stran‌gle@c‌ngloc‌al.com.

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