City Council members, sweltering through a brief meeting without air conditioning in their City Hall chambers, were told Monday that conditions may be even worse at the city-owned Earl W. Brydges Library building.
Paul Gromosiak, a local historian and author of nine books about Niagara Falls, told the Council that the air-conditioning system in the library's department of local history that had failed last summer and was temporarily repaired "has broken again."
"Old books, papers and photographs are damaged by prolonged exposure to heat and humidity," said Gromosiak, who has done much of his historical research at the library. "Last year, all summer long, the destructive effects of heat and humidity took their toll on the books, maps, photographs and records in the local history department."
The department's collection on the third floor of the library at 1425 Main St. houses "the history of this city, its people, its industries, its government, its schools and, of course, the Falls," Gromosiak said.
The Brydges building is the city's main public library. There is a branch library at 8728 Buffalo Ave. in the city's LaSalle neighborhood.
Gromosiak asked the Council to look into conditions at the library, but there was no item about it on Monday's meeting agenda, and no action was taken.
Council members did, however, lament the heat and humidity in their chambers as they raced through an agenda of 22 items in seven minutes.
Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. also had another complaint about the City Hall building at 745 Main St.
With most access to the building cut off by the current project to repair the facade, Anderson said, he was disturbed to find that it was virtually impossible for disabled visitors to get into the building through the little-used back door off Seventh Street. That door is being used temporarily as the principal entrance to City Hall while repair work is under way at other entrances.
There is a small lift to help those who use wheelchairs get around a short stairway, but Anderson pointed out that the lift is difficult to operate and that most of the doorways are not equipped for handicapped access.
The Council took no action on Anderson's remarks, but Council Chairman Sam Fruscione said later that the $500,000 facade-repair project is expected to be finished in about two weeks and other entrances should be reopened.
The project includes pointing up of some of the masonry exterior walls and repairs to the staircase leading up to the main entrance.