HARRISON, NY, October 4, 2012 – The Harrison Public Library Foundation (“HPLF”) released Thursday the results of a survey that compares how much money surrounding communities in Westchester and Connecticut have invested in their Library infrastructure over the past 15 years. Harrison resident and graphic designer, Anne Bernier of Bernier Designs, summarized the survey results in a map, which is attached.
The results unfortunately indicate that Harrison has dramatically underinvested in modernizing its Library infrastructure and has fallen behind surrounding communities, ranking 39 of the 42 communities surveyed.
The major capital improvements that HPLF was able to identify for Harrison were a $48,000 roof repair that occurred at the Downtown Branch in 2003 and a $167,000 renovation that occurred at the West Harrison Branch in 2006, for a total of $215,000, ranking Harrison 39 out of the 42 communities surveyed. Note that Harrison’s total investment amount is merely 4% of the average $5.8mm investment made by the group and 11% of the $1.9mm median investment.
Ross Halperin, Executive Director of the Harrison Public Library Foundation says: “We are very concerned with the continued antiquation of the Downtown Library facility and I think that every single person who owns property in Harrison should be too, whether you use the Library or not.” Halperin continues: “The good news is that we have a solution for this problem and we’d like to invite the community to come to the Downtown Library this Saturday, October 6th at 4pm as we unveil the details of this plan.”
According to Countrywide data, the average sales price for homes in Harrison has declined by -20.73% for the six-month period ending in June 2012 versus June 2011, making Harrison the worst performing real-estate market in Westchester County for that period. The average change in Westchester was -1.18%, showing that Harrison was clearly an underperformer. Surrounding communities that have invested significantly in their Library infrastructure over the past 15 years, such as Rye City, Mamaroneck, and Port Chester, showed improvements of +34.24%, +5.43%, and +22.99%, respectively. Note that the data in Harrison is based on the sale of 50+ homes in each measurement period.
Halperin continues to say that, “I believe that it is the Town Board’s responsibility to make the necessary investment in education, recreation, and culture to ensure that Harrison remains a preeminent community. Helping the private foundations leading this renovation effort is a cost-effective, one-stop shop for achieving that. The Library Trustees, who are excellent stewards of the Library, first identified a need to renovate the facility in 2004 and now, eight years later, it is time to give Harrison a facility it can be proud of.”
Leading local real estate broker Alix Prince of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, says,
“A good library would become a show piece to potential new families looking for a new home and a new town. It is a reflection that the town cares about its population, is interested in the well-being of residents, and the education of their children. It is a warm place to meet, greet, and learn. A new and improved library would weigh positively in the decision to purchase a home in Harrison.”
The methodology for collecting data for this survey was to reach out directly to Library Directors by phone or e-mail and to ask how much has been invested in their Library infrastructure over the past 15 years. The numbers are meant to include major capital projects and not to include minor maintenance-type expenditures, such as replacing a carpet or lights. While some Directors knew precisely how much was invested, others could only give estimates. The funds for these various capital projects came from a variety of sources, including bonds, grants, and private capital.
Funds for the planned renovation of the Halperin building are being raised by the Harrison Public Library Foundation and the Richard E. Halperin Memorial Fund.
The Foundations, along with the Library Trustees, will be hosting an event this Saturday, October 6th at 4pm at the Library to unveil, for the first time, architectural renderings of the new building, to introduce their Advisory Board and Junior Committee, and to premier a short movie about the project from local filmmaker Tony Coash.
For more information about the HPLF project and how to help, please visit, www.HPLF.org. No RSVP is necessary for the reception; please feel free to show up with friends and family.