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Town of Skaneateles approves sale of new library site
COMMUNITY

Town of Skaneateles approves sale of new library site

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Though still years away, the Skaneateles Library is one step closer to moving into a new, significantly bigger home.

The Skaneateles Town Board unanimously approved the sale of 75 Fennell St. to the Skaneateles Library at the board's July 8 meeting. The library will purchase the 2.14-acre property for $413,000, its 2020 full market value according to Onondaga County property records. The library will close on the purchase in October 2022.

The town needs the time until then to move the equipment stored in the garages on the property to the town's facilities at Austin Park, library Director Nickie Marquis told The Citizen. 

After the library closes on the purchase, it will begin to build a new Skaneateles Library that offers services it can't at its current, .36-acre location at 49 E. Genesee St. They include a drive-thru, on-site parking, study rooms for students and remote workers, a larger children's room, dedicated rooms for teens and tweens, and outdoor space for programs.

At its current limestone building, meanwhile, the library will open a used book store and possibly offer space to community organizations. The John D. Barrow Art Gallery there will also expand. The library will retain ownership of the building, where its inability to expand without compromising the historic character led to the decision to move.

The library first tried to move to the former Stella Maris Retreat & Renewal Center at 130 E. Genesee St. in the mid-2010s, but abandoned those plans due to "significant legal opposition." 

However, the library's move to Fennell Street seems to have more public support. Town Supervisor Janet Aaron said at the board's July 8 meeting that the town has received 49 letters and emails about the move, and only one was against the library's move. There was no reason given for the opposition, Aaron added. Reasons given for the support included the availability of parking at the new library, its proximity to the old library and the plans for the historic building. The library has also received positive feedback at public Zoom presentations it's been hosting, Marquis said.

"People are excited about the possibility of having a really functional community space," she said. "We've gotten a lot of great feedback." 

At the meeting, Aaron and members of the town board voiced their support for the library's move as well. 

"I have always been impressed by how hard this dedicated group works to try to find the right solution," Aaron said of the library. "All are deeply committed to making sure the decisions they are making will bring opportunities for our residents to enjoy the many services this library now wants to provide. My hat's off to all of them who have maintained a steady, transparent course."

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and auburnpub.com since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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