NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In an effort to keep up with the times, the Brooklyn Public Library system undertook a multi-million dollar project more than a decade ago.
But many East Flatbush residents say their branch was left behind. On Tuesday, CBS2’s Valerie Castro found out more about the renovation project, which is now in its 14th year.
The windows and doors at the Rugby branch remain boarded up and gated off, as they have for two years now.
“This was my library that I came to for school research, and after school, and just to hang out with friends, and now that I see it’s closed and my kids can’t come here. It’s almost an inconvenience,” resident Tasheena Carpenter said.
Plans for a simple renovation project were set back in 2005 and the work was supposed to only take one year. But all these years later, it is still not done.
“It may take forever,” 42-year East Flatbush resident Louisa Dallard said.
That’s because the plans were changed five times. The Department of Design and Construction said what started as an interior renovation turned into a new HVAC system, a roof replacement, facade work, and finally a trailer to accommodate library goers in the interim. Construction didn’t actually begin until March 2017.
“In the building it was a lot of space for all of us and they also had a part where they used to give us lunch. Now that in the trailer, we don’t have that much space anymore,” resident Omari Walcott said.
Walcott said he goes to the library at least twice a week to do homework and surf the internet, so he, along with many others, hope the project is finished soon.
“It’s very inconvenient and it’s going to make children in the area kind of lose interest in trying to learn,” Carpenter said.
The library is expected re-open in the summer of 2020, showcasing the renovation work that quickly went from costing $1 million to almost $10 million.
In the meantime, residents hope the library is not forgotten by then.
The Department of Design and Construction said each one of the changes led them back to the drawing board. Moving forward, it said it has a new plan in place to limit delays by locking projects and budgets in at the start of each project.