JJML Searches for a Home Away from Home

Posted on 22 January 2010

web loeffler2

Last Thursday, John Jermain Memorial Library Director Catherine Creedon walked the corridors of the new Hampton Library in Bridgehampton, an exercise she said gave her hope as her own library strives towards completing its own renovation and expansion.

“Just to see this beautiful, vibrant place full of people,” said Creedon. “It does give me hope.”

After a successful, nearly $10 million public referendum passed last summer for a renovation, expansion and restoration of the historic John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML), the library’s plans still hinge on approvals from a number of Sag Harbor Village boards. Regardless, in an effort to keep their publicly funded budget in line, the board of trustees is already undergoing a concerted effort to find the temporary library space they hope will  house them while undergoing construction.

web fishers1(pictured above, The Loeffler Building on Bay Street; pictured left: Fishers Annex on Bridge Street)

So far, according to Creedon, the library is entertaining three spaces, all within village  boundaries.

“It looks like a great place for us,” said Creedon of the West Water Street location most recently occupied by Personal Best Fitness, which has since moved to Bridgehampton’s Ocean Road.

Creedon said the board is also interested in 24 Bay Street, also known as the Loeffler Building – the newest commercial construction completed in that neighborhood. JJML board member Carl Peterson has also visited Fishers Annex on Bridge Street, which boasts a whopping 7,000 square-feet of open space.

web personalbest1(pictured right, 34 West Water Street, the former home of Personal Best Fitness)

“We need, at an absolute minimum 4,000 square-feet and obviously cost is a factor,” said Creedon. “The monies for the temporary space and any necessary renovations come out of the referendum.”

The Loeffler Bulding would give the library between 4200 and 4500 square feet of space, said Creedon, and the former Personal Best space would provide roughly 3800 square-feet for JJML. Despite being slightly smaller than the library would hope for, Creedon said the West Water Street locale may require the least amount of renovation to create library space.

Creedon said having the place handicap accessible was also at the top of the library’s list of priorities. She added the library budgeted $150,000 for the total cost of rent and renovations for the expected 16 to 18 month temporary space, although when that time frame begins lies in the hands of the village, which has yet to begin its formal review of the project.

“In a perfect world we anticipated moving into this space in September of 2010,” said Creedon, noting it was the board’s hope they would move back into JJML in the late spring or early summer of 2012.

That the space lies in the Village of Sag Harbor, despite the fact that JJML serves the whole of the Sag Harbor School District, Creedon said was simply the result of available commercial space with adequate parking. She said the board remains open to options elsewhere in the school district.

“For me it is a small benefit if I am within walking distance of 201 Main Street during construction,” said Creedon. “For me it would be logistically easier; but if there is an adequate space elsewhere I would be happy to take a look at it.”

Plans for the renovation and expansion of the John Jermain Memorial Library are expected to be reviewed by the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board, which meets next on Tuesday, January 26 at 5:30 p.m.

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