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May 16, 2013

 

Library recognized for upkeep of building

Preservation association award praises care of historic property

LibraryBob Ellis/staff photographer
The Cortland Free Library is being honored for recent historic preservation work, including returning the front entrance back to its original design with stairs.

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

The Cortland Free Library is being honored Sunday for excellence in maintaining its historic structure.
Diane Ames, president of the board of trustees, said the “tender loving care” award from the Preservation Association of Central New York recognizes the library for “maintaining exceptionally high standards of care for a historic property.”The library was built in 1926 and Ames said it has been “in the throes” of renovations since 2007, when the roof was replaced and an elevator and a handicapped accessible entrance were added.
In 2012 work on the exterior facade began. A new stairway was completed in the winter, replacing the crumbling wheelchair ramp and stairs with steps that replicate the original building’s staircase.
Interior renovations on the youth section are going on now and are expected to be completed sometime in June. That room will have new walls, a new ceiling and a new floor, when it is completed.
“It’s been gutted right down to the studs,” said Ames, adding that asbestos was removed and the heating system was also improved.
Ames said the award comes as a surprise.
“We had no idea that we were being considered so this was just a wonderful surprise and it really validates all the things that have gone on at the library over the last six years,” said Ames.
The library received grants in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 through the New York State Library construction grant program, said Ames.
It has also received community support from individual donations and foundations. Donations have been received from Alliance Bank, Cortland County Bar Association, First National Bank of Dryden, and community service clubs like the Cortland Community Foundation and the Zonta Club.
The library is on the National Historic Registry so any proposed changes to the structure must be approved to ensure they are in keeping with the original plans.
A dedication ceremony will be held sometime in June when the youth department renovations are completed.
Landscaping will be completed this week as well.

 

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