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Woodside Library Receives $6.5 Million For Renovation Work

Woodside Library (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

June 18, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

The Woodside Library will soon undergo a massive redesign, as officials announced the allocation of $6.5 million for renovation work at the center.

The library, located at 54-22 Skillman Ave., is set to become a new state-of-the-art facility following a complete overhaul to its interior, said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Queens Library President Dennis Walcott, and Rep. Joe Crowley in a joint announcement today.

The funding was allocated by the City Council in its recently-passed fiscal year 2019 budget, and came about after conversations with Walcott and Van Bramer on the library’s future. The Woodside Library had already undergone several weeks of asbestos abatement work toward late 2017 and early 2018.

via Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s office.

“Dennis said, ‘We really need to redo the entire library’,” Van Bramer recalled. “Just gut and rebuild all of the interior and make it a state-of-the-art facility’.”

Walcott and Van Bramer began talking about the need to renovate the library months ago.

“We laid out our case, and then Jimmy went to work right away,” Walcott said.

Van Bramer said Crowley was instrumental in helping to push and secure funding for the library.

“Libraries are about connectivity—connecting with the outside world, but really connecting as well with each other,” Crowley said. “It’s a place of gathering where people come for resource, for knowledge.”

He said the $6.5 million in funding is an “enormous” investment for the community.

There is currently no design or visioning for the library’s new interior, but its currently-dated interior can be expected to be a thing of the past. The library’s new look will likely resemble that of newly-renovated libraries in the system today, a Queens Library spokesperson said.

It is also too early for a timeline to be provided on the project, but the Queens Library will take its project to the city’s Department of Design and Construction to be designed before presenting it to the community for feedback.

“We just voted on the budget on Thursday,” Van Bramer said. “Now begins the process of dreaming about what the interior of this library will look like.”

Closures can be expected once renovation work begins, a Queens Library spokesperson said.

The Woodside Library is also receiving $500,000 to revamp its children’s section as part of this participatory budgeting cycle.

The 10,800 square foot library opened in 1931, and saw 162,000 visitors last year, according to the Queens Library.

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14 Comments

Anonymous

Interesting how they fixed the floor of this branch twice and now all of a sudden, they will renovate the branch with $6 million. Something is up.




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Disgusted!

Photo op! To show “our politicians” are doing something for their pay checks and how they are spending our tax money! Creating jobs for their friends and relatives!




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Kevin Duffy

$6.5 million could buy for five houses in the Gardens!
Will this money bring any more books to me quickly?
This needs to be reviewed by a shrink? (Before project is declared “insane.”)
Homeless and other things first.
“Pork”. Rename this branch “Porkville Branch.””




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Tommy O

Kevin-The community doesn’t need to buy houses in the Gardens we need to repair an aging structure that houses our local library branch. A branch that has very heavy use age.




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John O'Reilly

Did I miss something? Did Joe Crowley become a member of the City Council and/or the Mayor’s budget team? Can Mr. Crowley be both a member of Congress and serve in the City Council/Mayoral administration? Or is this just the latest obvious example of the conflicts brought about by Mr. Crowley being an office holder, a candidate for office and the head of the Queens County Democratic Party? In a City administration that is virtually all one party, where Jimmy Van Bramer heads the Council Committee that oversees libraries, what in the world did Joe Crowley do to be “instrumental in helping to push and secure funding for the library”? Did Joe Crowley call up Dennis Walcott and tell him to request funding $6.5 million for a redo of the Woodside Library (without any detail of a plan) so that Joe and Jimmy could have a photo op a week before the primary election in which Joe Crowley is facing a nationally recognized progressive Democrat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Jimmy Van Bramer should be ashamed of himself, allowing himself to be used as a prop in Joe Crowley’s soon to be unsuccessful effort to remain in Congress. But there’s a silver lining in every cloud! When Joe Crowley loses the primary June 26th, and is out of Congress in January 2019, he should be put in charge of the $44 million boondoggle in Hunters Point where with great fan fare Jimmy Van Bramer held a ground breaking ceremony in May 2015 with the promise of the opening of a state of the art library in Hunters Point in 2017. Mr. Crowley seems especially well suited to oversee completion of yet another “state of the art” library with his in-depth knowledge of libraries evident with his words yesterday in Woodside: “Libraries are about connectivity—connecting with the outside world, but really connecting as well with each other,” Crowley said. “It’s a place of gathering where people come for resource, for knowledge.” People of the 14th Congressional District, please alleviate the rest of us from this drivel and the overwhelming stench of back room politics pervasive in all things civic in Queens and elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the Democratic candidate for the NY CD 14 on June 26th!




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IanM

Whew..

I’m a little confused on why I’m supposed to be mad that Crowley helped secure funding for a new library in my neighborhood, if in fact that’s true. Grr.. how dare he?

Anyway, yes, congresspeople absolutely do – and should – get involved in advocating around local issues and city budget questions, as well as national politics. That’s not a conflict of interest, that’s their job. That is, to advocate for their constituents and produce results, not just debate ideology in congress.

Is this a political stunt timed conveniently before a primary election? Yes, of course. And it’s a pretty well-executed one – a great example of a concrete product that Ocasio-Cortez probably wouldn’t be able to deliver right away as a newcomer to elected office.

I’m all for a progressive candidate in theory, but you’re not making a great case for one by arguing that funding for our libraries is an example of what’s wrong with the system. Maybe focus instead on what your candidate would actually deliver.




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David

John- Save your lengthy and irrelevant political rant for another article. Let us who use and appreciate the Woodside library branch have a break from self serving form of politics and belly aching. Thank you Nr. Crowley, the Democratic Party and anyone else who made the 6 million dollar gift possible. In a building the size and age of the Woodside library branch that may not be as much accomplished as one May expect. My family owns a multi family Matthew in Woodside and have spent close to 2.5 million in past 3 years on the property.




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John O'Reilly

David and IanM, you guys need to up your reading comprehension game. The point of my comment is the politicalization of the subject library funding. I have no idea whether giving $6.5 million to the Woodside Library is a good or bad thing, except to observe it was obviously hastily thrown together, there’s no detail or defined scope or work, apparently the renovation will negate or duplicate other recent capital expenditures made at the Woodside Library. There is nothing to show how this expenditure fits into the Queens Library capital plan as formulated by the Library’s capital improvement team. The whole thing stinks as the worst kind of “political stunt”. Fortunately there are laws covering this “photo op” at the Woodside Library, and we will soon find out if those laws were violated. I am reasonably confident that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will let City officials like Jimmy Van Bramer do their jobs with respect to library funding, especially regarding a coherent system wide long term capital plan and that Ocasio will not turn distinguished persons like Dennis Walcott into props for political advantage. I have a question for you Crowley people, why are you all afraid to use your full name?! Lacking the courage of your convictions, just like your candidate? People are catching on to his act real fast: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/opinion/joseph-crowley-alexandria-ocasio-cortez.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share




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SuperWittySmitty

You need to learn brevity and how to focus. Your post seemed rambling, slightly incoherent, and over the top. I suspect most of us read a couple sentences and moved on.




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Tommy O

John- The only thing you’ve done with these ridiculous long winded and out of place rants is to convince people not to vote for Ms. Ocasio Cortez.




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