By Greg Klein Staff writer
---- — Insurance will pay for part of the repairs to the Cooperstown village library, according to trustee Cindy Falk.
“I’m really happy that they will pay for anything, because there is a lot to be done,” said Falk, who is the chairwoman of the streets and buildings committee.
The village’s insurance company, New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal, inspected the damage to the adult reading room and told Falk that they will pay to repair the damaged plaster in the room.
A 63-year-old Edmeston man was injured on April 22 when the large chunk of plaster dropped from the ceiling above him while reading in the room. The man, whose name was not released to the public, was treated at Bassett Medical Center for minor injuries to his arm.
NYMIR’s inspector agreed with a previous assessment by Jon McManus, who did an inspection for the village, that the damage was probably caused by a leak or water moisture that came into the 22 Main St. building through a crack in the chimney.
“That is probably why the plaster fell where it did (by the fireplace),” Falk said. “The ironic thing is we had the chimney fixed last year, but it had already caused the damage.”
The trustees voted last week to open the process to bids. Falk said that there are more repairs to be done on the building and she hopes that they will all be done at the same time.
“Some of it is time sensitive,” she said. “The roof repairs, obviously we need to get those done in the summer time.”
Tiles from the roof have begun to fall off. Trustee Lou Allstadt, who lives at 18 Main St., said he found some of the tiles in his yard. Allstadt, who was president of the Friends of 22 Main St. group before becoming a trustee, also told Falk that he found a broken joist in the roofing.
“He said it may have been faulty for 100 years, but it picked this time to break,” Falk said.
Most likely, the plaster and roofing repairs will be done by separate companies.
“We have to find someone who specializes in the plaster,” Falk said. “There aren’t many people out there who do that kind of work. We have a lot of detailed plaster work along the walls, so we want to find someone who can cut the plaster right around the hole without damaging the cornices, which are very nice.”
The village set aside $63,000 in the 2013-14 budget for repairs to the building, which houses the library, the police department, municipal offices and also the Cooperstown Art Association. However, Falk said that she expects the total cost of repairs to be much higher.
“We’re not starting from scratch. We have something in the budget, but we’re not in great shape financially either,” she said.
There is no timetable for reopening the room, which contains most of the adult fiction and non-fiction books as well as DVDs. It was also where the main checkout desk was located. However, the damages have been cleaned up, and head librarian, David Kent, is now allowed to go into the room to pull requested books.
“At least we can do that now,” Falk said. “If somebody requests a book, David can get it for them because the room is cleaned up. Until we had it cleaned, he couldn’t even do that.”