For nearly a decade now, Community Board 5 (CB 5) has been pushing for a long overdue reconstruction project at the Glendale Library, and they’re hoping that the city will finally get it off the ground this year.
The Glendale Library reconstruction project was announced as part of the top 10 priorities for the CB 5 area in the board’s fiscal year 2018 preliminary budget for New York City — as it has been for nearly a decade — during the monthly CB 5 meeting on Feb. 8 in Middle Village.
“We are the ‘World’s Borough,’ and we are the world’s library,” said CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri, who happens to also be president of the Queens Library Foundation. “We are still pushing for the restoration of the somewhat-historic Glendale Library building, which was designed during the Great Depression era in a Tuscan villa style.”
According to Arcuri, when the Glendale Library branch was built, it was the only project that was completed with 100 percent Work Progress Administration (WPA) labor during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” economic stimulus, which is why the branch is so ornate and included an outdoor Tuscan reading garden, which would be restored as part of this project.
The project has been partially funded, to the tune of about $1.5 million, Arcuri said, but more money is needed.
Some of the other improvements that will be included in the reconstruction project, if it gets funded, include restoring the main entrance and front desk to its original form, reconstruct the sunken gardens in the front of the library, as well as finally making the branch Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible by adding an elevator off Myrtle Avenue.
“To this day, the Glendale Library is still not handicap accessible, which is in my opinion a real problem for anybody who’s disabled, for senior citizens, for parents with baby carriages,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5. “They are overdue with starting that project, and we are looking forward to that project beginning sometime before the autumn.”
The remaining projects in CB 5’s top 10 capital budget priorities are as follows:
- Building new sewer systems where necessary in the CB 5 area, especially east of 73rd Place in Glendale;
- The reconstruction and instillation of new catch basins in the neighborhoods;
- The planting of new street trees, removal of street tree stumps and pruning;
- Improving pedestrian and traffic safety in the area of Grand Avenue and 69th Street, as well as the Long Island Expressway (LIE) service roads and Grand Avenue and 69th Street;
- Checking the M train line for any deterioration, including the removal of lead paint and repaint the entire structure from Metropolitan Avenue to Wyckoff Avenue;
- Reconstructing the Ridgewood Reservoir Phase 2 project, including an environmental center;
- Getting new, cleaner locomotives for the freight line that runs through Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and Ridgewood;
- Constructing the park adjacent to the new Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) facility that is planned near Newtown Creek; and
- The reconstruction of the synthetic turn soccer field and running track at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.
The board also announced their proposed expense budget, which includes 20 additional police officers for the 104th Precinct, more building inspectors, tree pruning and park maintenance, and funding for senior and youth programs.