The Examiner

North Castle Library Unveils New Elevator to Increase Accessibility

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Armonk resident Vivien Cord is ready to take her first ride on the North Castle Public Library’s new elevator. Cord made a major donation that helped pay for the project. Martin Wilbur photo

The public library should arguably be the most accessible facility in a community, open to anyone who visits. Last week, the North Castle Public Library increased its accessibility after a long-sought-after improvement years in the making was unveiled last Wednesday.

The Friends of the North Castle Public Library cut the ribbon on its new elevator to bring patrons up and down between the first and second floors, which will assist seniors, many of whom visit the library, as well as community members with disabilities.

Scott Stopnik, president of the library Board of Trustees, said the project, which cost roughly $215,000, had been talked about for years. Work was completed during the past two to three years, as the town worked with its state lawmakers to secure its portion of the money.

“I’m just very glad we were able to get this done,” Stopnik said. “For so many years people didn’t know whether it was going to happen.”

Library supporters, including the Friends and the town’s local and state representatives made sure to honor longtime Armonk resident Vivien Cord who made a $100,000 donation toward the cost of the project, according to Stopnik.

Cord said she wanted to help the library and the community that she loves so much, although she admitted she was embarrassed to be receiving the accolades and attention. After a few remarks, Cord performed the ceremonial ribbon cutting and took the first ride on the lift.

“It’s a privilege beyond anything I can tell you to be able to do this,” she said.

Assemblyman Chris Burdick (D-Bedford) said Albany needs to provide more money for its public libraries throughout the state. In the proposed budget, Burdick said Gov. Kathy Hochul had cut library construction fund money from $34 million to $10 million before the legislature reinstated the money.

Despite support among lawmakers for restoration, he said it’s still not enough given how valuable libraries are to their communities.

Burdick also lauded the community for its stick-to-itiveness to see the project completed.

“None of this is possible, not only without Vivien, but with the support of a community that cares so deeply about libraries, and gives the support to its director and its staff and its Town Board to say we are going to make sure that the library not only survives but provides what it needs through the pandemic,” Burdick said.

Library Director Edie Martimucci, who will be retiring at the end of the month, said when she arrived at the North Castle Public Library nearly a quarter-century ago, the elevator was something that was talked about as a priority. She said the issue has been on the to-do lists for probably at least 30 years.

“I’m so happy I was able to see it through,” Martimucci said.

County Executive George Latimer was on hand for last week’s event, stressing that when he was growing up on the south side of Mount Vernon the library served as his gateway to the world when his family couldn’t afford to travel. With its materials and programs, it is as important to a community as ever.

“The library serves the entire panoply of people in this society,” Latimer said. “There’s something for everybody.”

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