Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senator Jeff Klein, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz and City Council Member Andrew Cohen have announced $2 million in new funding allocations to relocate the Van Cortlandt branch library to a new, larger home.
Each elected official has secured $500,000 in capital funding for the project as part of their FY2017 budget allocations. The new library will replace the existing branch, located at 3874 Sedgwick Avenue, with a state-of-the-art facility at a long-dormant residential building. The New York Public Library is close to finalizing a deal to move the branch to 3882 Cannon Place.
“I am proud to have partnered with the New York Public Library and my colleagues in government to help bring a brand-new Van Cortlandt branch library to the residents of the Northwest Bronx. The library is one of the most important public institutions we have, and this new location will allow for residents of all ages to enjoy an up-to-date, expanded branch library,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Libraries are sanctuaries of knowledge and imagination where the public can come to enjoy quiet time with a book in their neighborhood. The Van Cortlandt branch serves its residents well, but we’re long overdue for an upgraded facility. I’m proud that I secured $500,000, along with the additional funding contributed by my colleagues, to make the idea of a new library jump off the page and into reality. More than twice the size of the standing library, the new Van Cortlandt branch will begin a new chapter for community engagement and activities and I hope everyone in the area takes advantage of it,” said State Senator Jeff Klein.
“The value of New York’s Public libraries cannot be overstated, which is why I am thrilled I was able to secure $500k in Capital money to create a new home for the Van Cortlandt Library at 3882 Cannon Place. Libraries offer critical services such as internet access, job and technology training, English language classes, and countless other programs that enrich the lives of the communities they serve, while offering children a place to continue their educations outside of the classroom. I am proud to work with Borough President Diaz, Senator Klein, and Council Member Cohen to secure this money so that the Van Cortlandt Library can have a new and permanent home to continue to provide free education and opportunity to the residents of the Van Cortlandt community,” said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz.
“I am thrilled to be teaming up with my colleagues so we can provide the best possible library for my constituents in Van Cortlandt Village. A new, state-of-the-art space will be a tremendous resource allowing for expanded programs that serve the entire community. I look forward to cutting the ribbon when the new branch is complete,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
“The community relies on the programs and services offered by the Van Cortlandt Library, and we look forward to providing a bigger, better branch for that important work in the near future,” said New York Public Library President Tony Marx. “We are so thankful to Borough President Diaz, State Senator Klein, Assembly Member Dinowitz and City Council Member Andrew Cohen for contributing key funding to this important project and allowing us to better serve the public.”
“The Van Cortlandt branch library serves thousands of individuals in our area, and an enhanced facility is greatly needed in our community. We are thankful to our elected officials for setting aside funds for the relocation of the Van Cortlandt branch library to a larger, state of the art facility, in order to provide greater services to our community,” said Daniel Padernacht, chairman of Bronx Community Board #8.
“For over 12 years FIPNA has fought for responsible development at this long troubled location where an unscrupulous developer tried repeatedly to violate our zoning laws. FIPNA also strongly supports a larger, up-to-date public library in our community. Bringing a new library to this long vacant building is a win-win. We thank our elected officials for working to bring tax dollars back to our community for this worthy project,” said Margaret Groarke, vice president of the Fort Independence Park Neighborhood Association.
The existing Van Cortlandt branch has been at its original location since 1968. It is one room and approximately 2,715 square feet. Having just one room makes adult, teen, or children’s programming very difficult particularly given that program attendance in general has been up by 49 percent in recent years.
The proposed new location, at 3882 Cannon Place, is located only three blocks away from the existing branch and was originally built for supportive housing. It is 5,847 square feet, more than double the size of the current branch. In addition, the available outdoor space at the proposed new location could be a great opportunity to keep children and young readers engaged with outdoor programming, especially over the summer months.
The project is the newest way that The New York Public Library is investing in The Bronx. There is currently about $117 million earmarked for 53 capital projects for libraries in the borough, including much-needed renovations of the Hunt’s Point and Melrose branches.
Borough President Diaz first announced the proposal to relocate the Van Cortlandt branch library in his February “State of the Borough” address.