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Uses for closed Depew Library considered

Now that the Depew branch of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library is officially closed, the Lancaster Town Board will begin considering possible new uses for the building at 321 Columbia Ave.

During its work session Monday, the board discussed offers to buy or lease the property, and heard from a representative of one company offering to help the town market and sell the building.

The Depew Library, one of two public library branches in the town, was among the 16 county libraries targeted for closure because of a lack of Erie County funding.

Town officials provided $62,000 in emergency funds to keep the library open through Dec. 16.

Monday, the Town Board learned that Southeast Works, a nonprofit organization that provides social services, employment and job training for adults with developmental disabilities, may be interested in purchasing the former library building, which is owned by town.

Town Supervisor Robert H. Giza said the Lancaster Family YMCA has offered to lease the building until it completes construction of its own "world-class" facility. Meanwhile, John Mikoley of Pyramid Brokerage Co. made a pitch to help market and sell the building.

During the Town Board's regular meeting, Giza said there was also an offer to lease the building for a medical museum, which would house antique medical equipment.

However, nothing yet has been determined with regard to the fate of the building.

"We're trying to find either a private or government entity that will fit in the neighborhood," Giza said.

Meanwhile, he said the Town Board is seeking a solution to the shortage of available parking spaces at the Lancaster Library branch at 5466 Broadway.

Though the Depew branch is a physically smaller building, it has 46 parking spaces, compared with the 20 available spaces at the Lancaster branch.

In other business, Giza announced that the town's Office of Emergency Management will conduct a test of the town's Code Red, or Reverse 911, system from 9:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 28-30.

Under the system, town residents are warned of an impending emergency through calls made directly to their homes or businesses.

The system is equipped to make up to 1,000 calls a minute and is capable of calling every telephone number in the entire town within 18 minutes, Giza said.

The test will be conducted in different sections of the town over the three days to determine whether any phone numbers are missed.

"We hope we never have to use it," Giza said, "but we have another tool to keep the town out of harm's way."

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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