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Crane Street residents support library expansion plan

Crane Street residents support library expansion plan (WRGB)

SCHENECTADY, NY (WRGB)--Schenectady County announced plans to build a new Branch Library and Literacy Center on Crane Street in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood. The new facility would be built on the site of the former Chubby's Pizza, adjacent to the current Mont Pleasant Library Branch, and would emulate the Bornt Branch Library and Literacy Center built last year on State Street.

Karen Johnson, Vice Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature, says the expanded Mont Pleasant branch will include some of the amenities that patrons have come to enjoy at Bornt and at the Literacy Center. “What we are finding is that people are really responding to this quality of life improvement in their neighborhood,” Ms. Johnson said.

The City IDA, which is administered by the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, is acquiring the site needed to build the new library and literacy center. The IDA already owns 1036 Crane Street and is in the process of acquiring 1032 Crane Street by negotiated purchase or eminent domain. The building at 1032 Crane Street had more than 500 police calls last year and the convenience store formerly located at the site was shut down by the City of Schenectady. The County will take possession of the site from the City IDA, demolish the buildings, and build the new branch library. Once completed, the current branch would be demolished for expanded library parking.

The current branch lacks adequate space, parking, handicap access and other amenities needed to host a modern branch library and literacy center. “This branch will continue to operate during any construction period and then at the very end we’ll move over whatever we have to move so there will be no time when you will have stopped library service here,” Ms. Johnson said.

Ray Gillen, chairman of the Metroplex Development Authority, says a deal was reached with the owner of the property but the owner backed out. The owner tells CBS 6 he was offered $125,000 but Gillen says the agency offered more than $125,000 and offered to pay the broker’s fee. Now Gillen says, the agency will pursue eminent domain and let a judge decide the price of the property.

Leslie Mohr brings his children to the Mont Pleasant Branch several times a week. He likes that a new and bigger branch is being planned. “It could be bigger; that they are going to expand is a great idea,” Mr. Mohr said.

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