There’s good news from the Rockaway Beach Library.
First, you may recall that late last year, removing brush from the side of the library revealed cracks in the foundation. Because the building is 77 years old, this isn’t surprising, especially for those of us who have lived on the coast for some time.
Inspection by several contractors determined there was a drop of slightly more than three inches at the southeast corner of the library—the children’s book section, for those familiar. But the question remained: at what point in the past eight or so decades did the settling occur? And more important, is it ongoing?
Fortunately, library board member Wendi Krieg’s husband, Larry Weinert, has experience as a surveyor, and also has the necessary equipment to do a little investigation for us. First, Larry used waterproof caulking to seal the cracks in the concrete foundations, preventing further damage over the winter.
Next, Larry placed markers in the foundation and in the ground nearby. This would let us monitor the position of the foundation relative to a fixed spot nearby. If the foundation slips further, we’d know, and could make an intelligent decision at that time.
Over the past three months, the foundation hasn’t moved. The board met recently and will continue to monitor the foundation, and make decisions when (and if) the building shows signs of further change.
This experience has helped the library board revise our traditional approach to the inevitable expenses that come with maintaining a 77-year-old building. “We’ve been reactive,” said Jean Scholtz, president of the Friends of the lIbrary. “When something needed to be done, we’ve had to scramble to find the funds to take care of it.”
Scholtz stressed that similar situations could be better handled by a proactive approach, such as the decision to monitor the building’s foundation. You can expect to learn more about this in the city’s spring newsletter, scheduled to come out in March. Look for it as an insert to the newsletter from city hall.
Library patrons will also notice a few other changes over the past winter. First, you might recall the plaques mounted on the north wall of the library—to your left as you walk in, over the printer and computers. These plaques honored the original donors, volunteers, and contributors who first opened the Rockaway Beach Library after the donation of the building in the ‘90s.
Those names have now been consolidated into a single plaque on the west wall of the library. It’s a lovely piece, and reflects our gratitude for everyone who helped bring our library into existence.
More important, though: we kept the individual plaques from the north wall. If you, a family member, or a friend are mentioned on one of those individual plaques, we would love to present it to you for your own use. Stop in at the library and ask about how you can receive it.
What about that empty space on the wall? The library has a new system for displaying artwork to highlight Rockaway Beach artists. As I reported last year at a meeting of the Rockaway Renaissance Artists, Mayor Sue Wilson proposed her vision of Rockaway Beach as a kind of artists’ colony, as well as the beloved vacation getaway spot it’s always been. If you have ideas or contributions, let us know.
Furthermore, the library is planning a listening session, similar to what our city government instituted in the lead-in to last year’s elections. The dates and times are still being determined, but will take place in February, on an evening or weekend. I’ll publish the information as soon as it’s confirmed.
And finally, as mentioned last week, Meals for Seniors will be hosting a Prime Rib Dinner on Saturday, February 11th, at St. Mary by the Sea, 279 S. Pacific. There will be two seatings, at 1pm and at 2:30pm. Tickets are $25 per person; call 503-317-8967 by Monday, February 6th to make your reservations. Dinner will include prime rib, potatoes, vegetable, salad, roll and dessert. This dinner is sponsored by Josi Farms to benefit Meals for Seniors Rockaway Beach.