Residents could see additional parking spaces in the future at the Lancaster Library
More spaces at the library have been needed for some time now to accommodate patrons and has always been at the top of the library’s “wish list,” said Lancaster Town Council Member Donna Stempniak, who also serves as the liaison between the town and library boards.
With the property, located at 16 School St., becoming available for purchase the board on Monday night passed a resolution to execute a purchase offer for the property in the amount not to exceed $89,900, which is the asking listed price. The property is adjacent to the library.
“There’s not enough room,” remarked Gary Howell, president of the Lancaster Public Library Board of Trustees. “There never was, but you do the best with what you have.”
The board also passed a resolution to have Grantmakers Advantage, the town’s grant consultant, apply for the New York State Education Department, Division of Library Development, grant for funding to purchase the property. It is a matching grant which is offered to library systems for construction, including land acquisition. So, the top amount the town could receive is $44,950.
If the town board is able to acquire the property, the house which currently is on the property would be demolished and the construction of a parking lot, including all preliminary work and necessary equipment, materials, and related site work, is estimated at a cost of $225,000.
Considered a capital improvement project and as stated in the resolution, “The town believes is it in a position to acquire the parcel,” the board did bond for the estimated project total cost of $225,000, but will be offset by any federal, state, county, or local funds received.
Stempniak added that the New York State Education Department, Division of Library Development, grant will once again be available next year so they will apply for it again.
“If we get the property at least the staff can park in the driveway so there will be some relief,” said Stempniak.
However, this is not a project that will just happen overnight. According to Howell, the project will take at least two years if not three to be completed.
Howell said this parking lot issue has been in the works since 1974, but the planning phases actually began in 1997.
“The point is that this issue has been kicked around for a long time,” commented Howell. “The majority of complaints we receive at the library is parking. We run a lot of programs, a lot of children’s programs, and when they are going on at the library it is full of people. We desperately need more parking spaces.”
Howell explained to the board that other local libraries that are the same size as the Lancaster Library have bigger parking areas, for instance, Julia Boyer Reinstein in Cheektowaga has 60 spaces and the Grand Island Library has 67 spaces. According to documentation, the Lancaster Library has 21 spaces, which was recently decreased by one because of restriping of the lot for bigger handicap spaces.
Stempniak added that the village wants to open up Plum Bottom Creek to the public when the project is completed.
“This is a little advantage of acquiring the property because it now becomes in the public domain and we can open it up to the public,” explained Stempniak. “So, we can put benches out there and if they can, they are going to try to direct the Wi-Fi out there for people. It could be a really nice benefit to the community, not just parking.”
Even before the Depew Library closed, Stempniak said the Lancaster Library Board has always brought up the need for additional parking spaces.
“Now that the library closed, it’s really more important because it is our only library,” said Stempniak.
“We still serve the entire Town of Lancaster but now we’re doing it with one library and we still have the same patrons and the same population, but we have less parking,” added Howell.
Albert Martin, vice president of the Lancaster Library Board of Trustees, encouraged residents at the meeting to support this project as it will benefit the entire community.
“I am asking not just the town board but the whole community to stand behind this to provide sufficient and adequate parking for the thousands of people that comes through that library every year,” remarked Martin.
In other town news:
• The town board awarded the bid for improving the street lighting at Westwood Park by removing the existing 400W metal halide street lights and retrofitting each of the 29 poles with LED fixtures to Empire Green Technology. The total of project cost is $20,727.
• The board passed a resolution to support the federal government’s consideration of Lancaster being a possible place to have a veteran’s cemetery. The closest veteran’s cemetery is in Bath, N.Y., and the board is willing to work with federal representatives to bring the cemetery to Lancaster.
• The site plan for the proposed redevelopment of a 1,200 square foot Kwik Fill gas station and pumps, located at 6439 Transit Road, was approved by the board under one condition. The proposed storm water discharge to Transit Road must be approved by NYSDOT.
The next Town of Lancaster Board meeting will be held at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, in the town hall, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster.