Overdue repairs: Portland hears of ‘demands’ for library

Work on the Ahira Hall Memorial Library basement may cost more than $1 million.

PORTLAND — The Ahira Hall Memorial Library, located in the heart of the village of Brocton, serves the Village and the Town of Portland in many ways. In fact, nearly 36% of residents in the Brocton and Portland communities utilized a library card this past year, the highest rate in at least 15 years. That number is even higher when you include the various events the library puts on each year, such as the summer concerts.

But this year, while the events will continue, the library is having an even tougher time finding the money to put everything together, even in a literal sense.

The library has suffered recent damage to a window, which was said to likely be due to stress on the building causing the window to pop. The cost to replace the window is just under $1,300.

Library Director Julie Morrison Putcher further discussed the issues the building is facing with the Town Board. She was joined by Nicole Young, Vice President.

In the past 15 years, approximately $100,000 has been dedicated to window repairs. The library has also undergone drainage improvements, carpeting replacement, a re-stabled floor, and a $30,000 roof repair. All of the repairs have come out of the library budget.

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Supervisor Rich Lewis and the Portland Town Board recently approved a donation of $500 to the Ahira Hall Memorial Library.

“The library is kind of struggling to keep up with all of the demands that are hitting us right now,” Putcher said.

Architects recently visited the library to provide an estimate on the work that needs to be done long-term on the building, and the estimate including a new basement is over $1 million. The library will pursue grant funding for the necessary upgrades.

Following Putcher’s request for assistance with funding and maintenance of the building, the Town of Portland has chipped in a $500 donation to the Library. The Town also donated $500 a year ago to sponsor a summer concert, and the Village of Brocton did the same. This year, the Village has again donated to sponsor a summer concert, but with the structural needs of the Library at the forefront, the Town’s donation this year does not have a designated purpose. Seven summer concerts have already been booked.

Also of note, a recent rabies clinic in Portland had a major turnout, with residents from across the county attending. The Town went an hour over the allotted time because of how many people attended the event with their pets. The Town will look to limit future events to Portland and Brocton residents to avoid overages and serve all the residents of their community. The Town is also still working on a leash law for area pets.

The Water District II project continues to progress, with work at Van Buren Point continuing as the point of emphasis before moving on to the rest of the project. The area requires 168 meter pits to be installed.

The Board approved a pay application from S. St. George Enterprises for the Water District II project; adopted a new fee schedule for code enforcement; and reappointed Matthew Thies to the Board of Assessment Review.

The Board also listened to public comments from Fredonia resident Mark Twichell who urged the Board to adopt a resolution in opposition of wind turbine placement in Lake Erie. The Board did not take any action on the matter following his comments, noting a desire to research the matter further.


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