Groundbreaking! Far Rock Library Project Begins

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It’s the start of a new era for the Far Rockaway Library. Construction can now officially begin on the brand new, state of the art, 18,000 square feet, $33.6 million facility. On Monday, November 19, City officials and local politicians gathered at the site of the future library to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony.

Officials from the de Blasio administration, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Donovan Richards, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, Senator James Sanders and CB 14 District Manager Jon Gaska joined Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott, to dig in the first shovels on the highly anticipated project that is expected to be complete in 2021.

The old Far Rockaway Library officially closed on September 28 to make way for the new building, while a temporary library at 1003 Beach 20th Street was set up to serve community members until the new building is complete. The $33.6 million project is being managed by the NYC Department of Design and Construction and funded by capital investments from the Office of the Queens Borough President ($21.25 million); Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYC Economic Development Corporation, ($19.4 million), Councilman Richards ($3.24 million) and Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato ($250,000).

“This library has had a special place in the hearts and minds of our staff and the community over the years, but never more so than in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy in 2012,” President Walcott said. “It was a lifeline for many residents, becoming a meeting point, a food and supply distribution center and more. Its stunning new replacement will amplify the role of the library in the community even further, serving as a major learning and technology hub.”

“Far Rockaway residents rely heavily on the amazing services offered at Queens Library, which is why this groundbreaking for a brand new state-of-the-art facility is the perfect symbol of this community’s transformation,” Councilman Richards said. “This new facility will allow Queens Library to serve twice the residents and provide even more life changing services for students and seniors with a Teen Room and a Cyber Center, as well as services for business owners at the Small Business Center.

The existing Far Rockaway building, which has been at 1637 Central Avenue since 1968, will be demolished to make way for the new, resilient, Snøhetta-designed structure, that will feature a unique glass façade and central space designed to let natural light penetrate deep into the building. The new, energy-efficient building will allow for much more programming and resources than before.

"I spent a lot of time at the Far Rockaway Library growing up," Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato said. “The new Far Rockaway Community Library will be an invaluable resource for everyone! It was my honor to play a role in this redevelopment, and I know that I, my kids and everyone else can't wait to get inside and check out the new space!”

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