West New York ordinance would bond millions for new library

The town would bond $4.5 million, supported by $12.5 million in state grants

West New York's current library. It may bond millions for a new one. Photo via Google Maps
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West New York's current library. It may bond millions for a new one. Photo via Google Maps

The West New York Board of Commissioners has introduced an ordinance that would appropriate $17,000,000 for the construction of a new library. West New York is now home to one library, at 425 60th Street across from Town Hall.

Under the ordinance, the town would bond $4,500,000 toward the cost. Another $12,500,000 will be covered by the New Jersey State Library via the state’s Library Construction Bond Act.

The total estimated cost of the project is $25,000,000, according to the ordinance introduced at the August meeting. It is not clear where the rest of the funding would come from.

Read the ordinance  at www.westnewyorknj.org/_Content/pdf/ordinances/Ord1721.pdf.

A public hearing will take place at the board’s Sept. 15 meeting at 6:30 p.m. The board meets via Zoom. For more information, go to the town’s website and click on the event on the calendar webpage.

Details scarce

Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez did not immediately respond to a request for details.

In an interview with the Hudson Reporter, Library Director Weiliang Lai said the project is in its the early stages. 

According to Lai, the town is now in the process of issuing the bond after having been approved to receive the state grant a few months ago. 

The new site is currently home to a smaller older structure, purchased from the Board of Education by the Town in 2017. The building is the former home of the board’s special services department, at 5602 JFK Blvd.

Lai said the current library will likely be used for something else, however he is not sure what that could entail. There is no time frame yet for when construction will begin. 

“We’re still working on the grants,” Lai said.

Old ideas find new life

The idea to build a new library was once part of the platform of Rodriguez’s mayoral opponent, Dr. Felix Roque.

Roque, incumbent mayor at the time, was challenged by Rodriguez in 2019 and lost. During that campaign, Roque said he wanted to construct a new library and turn the current library into a new police headquarters.

While that plan did not come to fruition under Roque, parts of it may see new life under Rodriguez.

Reading is fundamental

In June, the town announced that Little Free Library book exchanges would be coming to all West New York parks beginning the first week of that month.

Little Free Library (LFL) is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve book access by fostering neighborhood book exchange boxes in hopes of inspiring a love of reading and building community.

Following their installation, West New York provided residents with the first round of books, from early childhood books to novels for adults. For more information, go to LittleFreeLibrary.org or westnewyorknj.org.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.