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Queens Chronicle

Hunters Point Library receives $3M more

Work continues in Long Island City on ‘new model’ for public spaces

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Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2015 10:30 am

As workers bustled about the construction site for the Hunters Point Community Library, on Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue in Long Island City, area leaders announced Tuesday that the project has received a boost.

City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said that another $3 million has been allocated as part of this year’s budget. The boost is composed of $1 million from Van Bramer’s capital discretionary funds and $2 million from Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx), bringing the total budget to $33 million.

“With so many new residents joining this community every day, I thought that the library would serve as a focal point, as a gathering place to bring everyone together,” Van Bramer said.

The councilman said the last piece of construction is furniture, books and other materials for outfitting, and said the $3 million will help secure those last pieces of the puzzle.

He noted that since taking office, he’s allocated $6 million to the project, which broke ground in May.

The 21,500-square-foot library branch will have a reading garden, children’s area, art gallery, rooftop terrace and a 1,260-square-foot park ranger station.

The branch, which reportedly costs $1,500 per square foot, has been criticized by some who note that funding to all city library branches has been strained since the recession.

Van Bramer, who joined the Queens Library as a staff member in 1999 and worked there before taking office, noted at the press conference that the library was already envisioned back then and was a dream of several community advocates.

“This library is going to be one of the most beautiful, one of the most architecturally significant libraries, not only in Queens but in the city, if not the nation,” Van Bramer said.

He noted how the nearby development of high-rise residential housing will bring even more families, seniors and other community members to the area, reinforcing the need for a community space with regular programming.

Bridget Quinn Carey, interim president and CEO of the Queens Library, called the structure a “new model” for libraries across the country. Others agreed.

“It’s a statement of our elected officials of the role that libraries play in our community and how important they are,” said Queens Library Board Chairman Carl Koerner.

Long Island City resident Angelo Ippolito, whose late wife Fausta Ippolito helped drum up key support for the project, said he goes near the construction site regularly and is excited that the project is becoming a reality.

He called his late wife a “catalyst” for the effort and said she was instrumental, “more than he realized,” in collecting signatures. He said she and his children had to venture outside the neighborhood for library services.

“She always had a passion for learning, she always had a passion for language and always had the ability to see the greater good,” Ippolito said.

The branch will open some time in 2017.

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