Temporary Berkeley Heights library nears debut

Photo Courtesy of the Berkeley Heights Facebook Page
The Berkeley Heights Public Library has moved from 290 Plainfield Ave. to 110 Roosevelt Ave., the former rectory of the Church of the Little Flower. This will be the library’s temporary location until a new municipal complex is completed.

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — The local public library, closed for nearly three months, is slated to reopen at the beginning of April in its new temporary home, the former “upper church” rectory of the Church of the Little Flower at 110 Roosevelt Ave.
A mid-December transaction between the library, township and church resulted in Berkeley Heights receiving 15 acres of land.
The library will operate inside the former rectory until the town completes its new Municipal Building at 29 Park Ave.

“The rectory was built in the 1960s, which was before American Disabilities Act was a phrase — so we are adding ADA-compliant bathrooms, two handicap parking spaces,” library director Stephanie Bakos told LocalSource in a March 2 interview.
“We also cut two really big windows in the wall to create a circulation department,” she added.

Other required renovations include wider door openings and a wheelchair-accessible entrance.
While residents are still encouraged to use libraries in neighboring Summit, Providence and Long Hill during the construction, Bakos said they can still call and request books from the Berkeley Heights library, and staff will try to work that out for them.
No fines will be charged while the library is closed.

Library officials are anticipating their new permanent library space inside a three-story building to be erected on Park Avenue that also will house the police headquarters, municipal administrative offices and a community room.
The project is projected to cost $28 million.

When the new space becomes operational, the rectory and its surrounding land will later be transformed into a housing development.
LocalSource previously reported that the 15-acre parcel of land, also known as the Hamilton property, is to be turned into townhomes with units set aside for the town’s Mount Laurel obligation.

No plans are final, Berkeley Heights Municipal Clerk Ana Minkoff told LocalSource.
With regard to the Municipal Building project, the council has received two proposals, but the council won’t award a contract until later this month or April, Minkoff said.