Posted by: Brian Donnelly
NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – A state grant will offset the costs of a 20-kilowatt standby generator and water disinfection system, which will return safe running water to the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library in North Salem this fall, its Director Carolyn Reznick said.
The Westchester County Health Department discovered last June that the library’s water was contaminated, but have not identified the source of the contamination. Since then, nobody has been able to drink the water or wash their hands at the library. To accommodate library patrons, Reznick said they have had big water coolers for drinking and “tons of Purel everywhere.”
“We are getting close to installing it,” she said. “I think it should be in by early fall.”
To power the disinfection system, the library needed a generator. Coincidentally, it had already decided to buy one after Hurricane Irene left four-to-five feet of flood water in its basement and disabled its two industrial-sized sump pumps and destroyed air handlers and ducts.
“We had decided we were going to get the generator before, but it became a real necessity once we discovered we had contaminated well water,” she said. “It’s a public place so you have to have water.”
The $32,250 includes $20,000 from a bullet aid grant and $12,500 from the New York State Library construction fund, both of which Sen. Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) announced Wednesday.
“The Ruth Keeler Library is a vital asset for residents, serving both as a center for academics as well as a community center,” Ball said.
Both Reznick and North Salem Town Councilman Bruce Buchholtz offered great gratitude to Ball for securing the funds in tight financial times.
The library is used like a community center in North Salem, which doesn’t have its own community center, Buchholtz said. During Hurricane Sandy, many in the town were without power for as long as 11 days. Many went to the library to use the computers and charge their devices.
The Generac generator arrived just before the devastating storm last October, enabling the library to remain open even after it lost power. While it couldn’t offer beds, it did extend its hours and offer coffee and other amenities to residents stuck without power.
“We were very grateful to be able to help the community in North Salem,” Reznick said.
Buchholtz recalled how people were able to use the library’s Internet in the days following the storm to find out crucial information like power restoration times from NYSEG, the progress made on clearing roads, and whether mass transit like Metro-North was running.
“The generous grants that Greg helped obtain for our Ruth Keeler Memorial Library will be spent on a generator and water chlorination system, helping our residents to benefit from the services and sanctuary that the library provides during crisis,” Buchholtz said. (ARTICLE)