Pleasant Valley Free Library hopes to expand, renovate after fire


Multiple agencies responded to a fire at Pleasant Valley Library Tuesday.

Poughkeepsie Journal

The expansion and renovation of the Pleasant Valley Free Library is expected to break ground two years after a basement fire ravaged the building. 

The fire reached up to the third floor on Nov. 6, 2018. However, the library’s building has since been declared as structurally sound, said Joy Dyson, board of trustees president.

“We’ve received our insurance money from the fire, and the board decided to rebuild in the location,” Dyson said. “Because of the fire, we have to meet all ADA standards for current 21st century requirements.”


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As of Monday, 90% of the $3 million cost was obtained through insurance, fundraising, state grants and donations from more than 65 organizations and businesses, she said. An anonymous donor gave $250,000. The Dyson Foundation will donate again if the community matches a donation of $150,000, totalling $300,000. 

At the time of the fire, the building was owned by the library but the property and parking lot were owned by the Pleasant Valley Presbyterian Church. The library has since bought the property, Dyson said. 

“And because we were able to do that, we can expand the library outward and make it a one-story, one-level access to everyone,” she said. “This opens so many possibilities for how the floor plan was going to work out.”

The second floor in the original building will be deemed for mechanical space for Wi-Fi, heating and air-conditioning. 

Originally the library said it hoped to break ground during the summer of 2020, however, Dyson said the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the process. 

The community continues to rally around a center of its town. The fire destroyed more than 50,000 books, DVDs and other forms of media. A handful of pieces from the collection and the shell of the building were all that could be salvaged by firefighters.

The staff credits its temporary, 10,000-square-foot space at 3 Maggiacomo Lane for allowing it to triple its programming, host more community events and improve its accessibility. It also guided them in their planning process, Dyson said.

“We were able to figure out what works and what didn’t work,” she said. “Our current project is going to be 9,100 square feet…There will be more seating areas, more community meeting spaces and we added a teen and children’s room.”

Ryan Santistevan:; 845-437-4809; Twitter: @NewsByRyan_.

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