By Bill Parry
Elmhurst residents have been waiting more than four years for their brand new state-of-the-art public library to open and now that moment is just months away.
Community Board 4’s district manager, Christian Cassagnol, attended the groundbreaking in 2011 and watched as construction delays on the $32.5 million project mounted.
“That was my first public appearance as DM, so we can’t wait to finally see this happen,” Cassagnol said. “It is in such a bustling commercial district and it’s going to be a tremendous addition to the community.”
The Elmhurst branch of Queens Library, located at 86-01 Broadway, will open in late fall, according to Jonathan Chung, the Queens Library director of government affairs.
“It is going to be beautiful and this community has been clamoring for it for some time now,” he said. “Right now we are doing the outfitting, putting in the furniture, shelves and, of course, the books and other library materials. Everyone is excited over this.”
Behind its stunning glass facade, the branch will consist of four floors and 30,000 square feet with separate adult, teen and children’s library space. There will also be an adult learning center and a computer work station.
“We also have a memory feature with some of the old Andrew Carnegie brick from the original library facade inside the modern building as kind of a remembrance package,” Chung said. “And there is a learning garden on site and that is something that will be really nice.”
And it is much needed, according to Cassagnol.
“Everybody knows of the explosive growth going on here in Elmhurst,” he said. When the branch does open, it will be one of Queens Library’s most engaged with the community.
“We expect this to rival both the Flushing and Central Library in Jamaica as the busiest in the system,” Chung said.
Another long-awaited library construction has finally topped off on the Long Island City waterfront and will be ready to open in the spring, according to the Friends of Hunters Point Library President Mark Christie.
The $39.5 million, 21,500-square foot library will feature a rooftop terrace with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, reading rooms for all ages, a gallery and performance space and a reading garden.
“I think of the grassroots effort that was underway before I moved to LIC in 1997,” Christie said. “People like longtime CB2 Chairman Joe Conley, the community leader Terri Adams, and the late great Councilman Walter McCaffery. They were working on this since the late ‘80s. Everytime I see this building it puts a smile on my face. It’s for all the young people who have no place to go after school. It’s really going to bring this growing community together.”
Adams remembers starting a letter-writing campaign with PTA members and the Friends of Gantry State Park.
“This is something that is very long overdue,” she said. “I think it’s going to be great for all of the new young families that are moving into the neighborhood.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr