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The contentious battle between the city and the owners of the Ulmer Park Branch Library is coming to an end.
Through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is finalizing its acquisition of the 2602 Bath Avenue lot occupied by the Ulmer Park branch.
“The city has taken official title to the building; however, the actual sale hasn’t yet occurred since the landlord and the city are still negotiating a final price,” explained Jason Carey, BPL’s director of marketing and communications.
The Parisi family, which owned the property, had fought the city’s attempt to buy the land and feared the property would be taken through eminent domain.
Reached by phone, family members seemed ready to put the situation behind them.
“Life moves on,” said Joanne Parisi-Colacino.
Joanne’s husband, Joseph, said there was nothing to discuss since, “They took it already.”
Although BPL and the Parisi family had agreed to rent the Bath Avenue property to the Ulmer Park Library since 1963, their friendly accord fell apart in 2006 when the family tried to raise BPL’s rent from $15 to $19 a square foot.
The BPL thought the family was asking for too much money and decided to file the ULURP application.
Community Board 13’s Housing, Zoning and Land Use Committee initially rejected the BPL’s ULURP application because members worried that the city would use eminent domain laws to acquire the property and not give the Parisi family a fair deal.
But the full community board approved the application after it was altered to exclude the words “eminent domain.”
Library officials maintain that the money saved by owning rather than renting Ulmer Park Library’s land could be used to serve the public.
When the ULURP application was up for public review, Steven Schechter, director of government and community affairs for BPL, said, “City purchase of this leased facility will allow BPL to expand services not only at Ulmer Park Library but also throughout our system by spending what we would pay in rent instead on much-needed library resources. As an example, one year’s rent would buy 10,000 more books, 225 new PCs, and allow us to make needed improvements to our buildings.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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