HARRISON, N.Y. – Renovations to the Harrison Public Library would cost $3.6 million and be paid mostly with private funds, Executive Director Ross Halperin of the Harrison Public Library Foundation (HPLF) said Saturday as plans were released to the public.
Halperin said the renovated library would consist of a new children’s room, a teen center in the basement, which is currently not being used, and a computer room that would increase the number of computers from 12 to 41.
Halperin said that there is $1.1 million of deferred maintenance in the library, including electrical, HVAC, fire protection and plumbing that the HPLF is asking the town to fix. Once that is done, he said, the HPLF will create a state-of-the art library for the citizens of Harrison.
The HPLF believes that these deferred maintenance investments will soon have to be done anyway and the town now has the opportunity
Halperin said the maintenance is needed and, if done now while the building is open and interest rates are very low, they could be done at a cost of $69,000 per year over 20 years.
He said if the money is not invested now, the cost will increase to $123,00 per year.
“Our survey indicated that, of the 42 surrounding communities in Westchester County and nearby Connecticut, Harrison ranks 39th in terms of investment in library infrastructure,” Halperin said. “Upgrading the library is very important for real estate values and the attractiveness of the town. Harrison has been the worst-performing real estate market in Westchester County, and fixing it is the first step to fixing the real estate problem.”
Maureen Skrilow, president of the Board of Trustees of the Harrison Public Library, said she wants Harrison to have the best library in the county, adding that she has spoken with other library directors in the county who now have “beautiful” libraries.
“This could happen here,” Skrilow said. “We are one step away and that step is raising the money. Now is the time to do it. In the future, problems with the infrastructure will be even worse.”
Library Director Galina Chernykh said the library has big dreams that can be seen from the artist renderings by H3 Hardy Collaboration presented to the public on Saturday.
“I definitely feel that the library is the center of the community and this community deserves a 21st century library,” Chernykh said.
Halperin said there are currently $1.3 million in private donations, including $950,000 in cash. To donate go to HPLF's website.