December 14, 2003
On behalf of the council, I am proud and honored to welcome you to the dedication of the new Hasbrouck Heights Free Public Library, the heart of our community.
Today we end an 80 year journey from a "little white house on the corner" as coined by Marsha Imken and begin a new one into the future with this gleaming new facility.
The generosity and spirit of Mr. Edward Black the donor of "little white house on the corner" should never be forgotten. The Deed of gift from Mr. Black was crystal clear "the building was to be used for "educational purposes" if not, the building would revert back to the Black family. To the Black family I am proud to state for the last 80 years the library has been used for educational purposes and much more. It has been a place of discovery, curiosity, invention, reflection and celebration and will continue to do this and even more at its new home on this corner.
The more recent history of how this new library came about could be characterized as a dream that came true. About 6 years ago we received a grant through the zealous efforts of Rose Heck for $125,000.00 for an elevator for the old library which would also cause us to lose valuable shelf space. It further required a matching grant the boro which. The purpose of the grant was to make this building barrier free handicapped.
At that point I spoke with Michele Reutty & Tom Verrastro and the council and we determined that we would seek new grants and funding for a new library.
The success of Hasbrouck Heights can be characterized as a community that works together toward a common goal and this new library is a fine example of that. With the full support of the council, the trustees, Assemblywoman Rose Heck, the steering committee and our residents, we forged on to begin to plan for a new library but the road was difficult and winding. Questions of where, what, how much and how to were daunting indeed. We determined that the library could and should be located in the center of town located in the center of town as it is the heart of our community. Then 4 years ago tragedy struck when our beloved municipal building was destroyed by fire which literally changed our history. We were in the darkest days of our community having to restore boro government, settle the ins. claim with a reluctant insurance company and plan for the future. For 2 years we planned an entirely new structure that would house 3 uses including the library taking advantage of the nearly 6 million dollars in insurance settlements, $450,000.00 in County grants and of course the $750,000.00 instituted by Assemblywoman Heck from Gov. Christie Whitman.
Much work and help was given by the many but I must specifically acknowledge former mayor Assemblywoman Heck for her dedication to the library and persistence in sponsoring the legislation Which we received this grant and for helping every library in the state. Also. our design professionals. Arcari and Iovino who began with the feasibility study and came up with the size, then shifted gears to design the entire building as one user friendly .
I must also acknowledge the hard work of the building committee Pepe & DiPisa and the persistence of mike Kronyak for a job well done.
Lastly, I acknowledge the dedicated service of library director, Michele Reutty, the present board of trustees and president Tom Verrastro for his role in shepherding this project to completion and his board and all the past members of the board of trustees together with the Friends of the Library whos dedication served to make our Library grow and better serve our community for the last 80 years.
In closing, I would like to offer these final thoughts on what this day represents to all of us.
May this library like the entire building be a symbol of the dedication and resilience of the people of Hasbrouck Heights and further, may it signify a community that has come together to create a place were people gather to learn, seek answers and solve problems.
May this new library, the heart of our community, fulfill the mission set out by Edward Black that it be used for educational purposes and more, that of discovery, curiosity, invention, reflection, celebration a place of enjoyment for all to use for many generations to come.
May God bless this library and may God bless
Hall Ribbon Cutting] [Senior Citizens Ribbon Cutting &
Building Dedication Prayers]