Price tag to repair city’s libraries? $1.1B, report says

Mid-Manhattan branch is in worst shape, says Center for an Urban Future

TRD New York /
Sep.September 15, 2014 03:25 PM

New York City Public Library’s branches are in need of repairs totaling $1.1 billion, according to a report released today from think-tank the Center for an Urban Future.

The organization called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to establish a capital spending and double-capital spending program for libraries over the next decade. The mayor’s 2015 capital budget upped library capital funding from $205 million to $229 million. The report pointed to broken air conditioning, leaky roofs, a dearth of electrical outlets and other problems.

De Blasio “recognizes the important role that libraries play in providing critical services to New Yorkers, which is why this administration is taking a new approach to invest in and partner with and support libraries,” the mayor’s spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal. 

The Brooklyn Public Library is in talks to sell the Brooklyn Heights branch to a developer to raise up to $300 million for renovations. The developer has yet to be selected. The Mid-Manhattan library branch on Fifth Avenue, the report said, needs more repairs than any other, totaling an estimated $100 million. A $300 million gut renovation of Both The Fifth Avenue branch and the nearby flagship building is currently underway. [WSJ]Mark Maurer

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