Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tough Crowd at Brooklyn Heights Library Meeting

Josh Nachowitz, left, and officers of Friends of Brooklyn Heights Branch. Photo by MK Metz
Plans to sell the Brooklyn Heights branch library site and move the Business branch to Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Heights didn't sit well with the crowd attending a meeting of the Friends of the Brooklyn Heights Branch Library on Tuesday night.

The audience of roughly 50 people peppered Brooklyn Public Library VP of Government & Community Relations, Josh Nachowitz, with questions about the necessity of selling the property, berated BPL for not fixing the busted air conditioning 20 years ago when it first broke down, and questioned where the library would be housed during years of construction.

Nachowitz said Brooklyn Public Library has no intention of "abandoning Brooklyn Heights." But he said it would cost three-and-a-half million dollars to fix the broken AC, and other building repairs would raise the total cost of renovation to $9 million. BPL's plan is to insert a smaller, single-floor library in the residential tower that would be built.

He bemoaned the financial mess the BPL system was in. The entire system "has $230 million in capital needs system-wide, and we get $15 million a year from the city,” he said.

In spite of Nachowitz's stance that there is no other way for the library to survive, revolution was in the air. A group is getting together to fight what they see as another transfer of public land to a private developer.

More details at the Brooklyn Eagle.

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