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Sale of South Branch Library sought

Cheektowaga is looking into selling the old South Branch Library on William Street.

"My thought several months ago was to sell the library," Supervisor James J. Jankowiak said.

Jankowiak suggested at his first Capital Improvements Committee meeting in February that the proceeds of the sale of the library could be used to improve the Town Hall campus on Union Road. Committee members said a study should be undertaken to determine what the needs of the town are before any building is sold or altered.

Kideney Architects of Amherst was awarded the bid, not to exceed $41,300, to prepare a master study of the more than 25 town facilities.

The firm is in the middle of the study and has not come across a department or division of town government that could benefit from relocation to the library, Senior Architect Paul L. Battaglia said in a letter to the supervisor.

Kideney recommends selling the library.

"If legally possible, the town should seek to manage the sale for a use that would best benefit the neighborhood," Battaglia told the supervisor in the letter.

A 2006 study of the library estimated it would cost $392,700 to renovate it and bring it up to code. An appraisal done at the same time said the 7,849-square-foot building was worth $275,000 as is. The property could bring in $16,266 in town, county, school and special district taxes, Jankowiak said in February.

He said the sale would go a long way to help pay for renovations to other town facilities. The town is contacting a real estate agent about selling the building.

"The real benefit would be to the neighborhood," Jankowiak said.

Council Member Thomas M. Johnson in February urged the town to gather more information about reuse of the building as a community facility.

"My concern is we try to meet the needs of the community," he said.

The community probably would appreciate a doctor's office or similar use, he said. But with the closing of the library and St. Josaphat School nearby, the William Street community is losing its identity, he said.

"I hope we entertain proposals from organizations that would want to work with the community and provide some meeting space," Johnson said.


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