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Norfolk Hepburn Library to seek grant funding for solar panels

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NORFOLK — The Norfolk Hepburn Library completed the restoration of its roofing and chimneys early last month and now is looking ahead to the next project.

The Town Council passed a resolution this week supporting the efforts of the library board of trustees to pursue grant funding to add solar panels to the building’s roof.

“I know that they’re going to be putting them on the south and east side. It looks like it will be about 10 per side, so about 20 altogether,” Library Director Vicky L. Brothers said. “We’re trying to be energy conservative, and we do plan on doing some classes on energy efficiency and solar panels and it kind of goes with that flow.”

The Hepburn Library was one of just three public facilities in St. Lawrence County to get funding in June for construction and repairs, and it did so to the tune of more than $70,257. The grant that came courtesy of state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, covered half of the costs for the roofing and chimney project.

The Norfolk facility was constructed in 1921 and is registered as a historic site.

“I think (the solar panels) are probably going to be toward the beginning of September,” Ms. Brothers said. “The nice thing about having them placed where they would be placed is that they would really not be visible at all. It would not take away from the historical value of the building.”

In September 2012, the town board voted to contribute $6,000 toward roof repair work that Ms. Brothers had estimated to cost $7,800. Work crews later discovered friable asbestos so the project was scaled back to address only the immediate problems with leakage. That work was completed in November 2012. Last September, town officials accepted a $96,000 bid from Lupini Construction, Utica, for work on the roof.

Ms. Brothers said that the solar panel project is estimated to cost approximately $29,000.Most of the funding, she said she is hoping, will come through the New York State Construction Grant for Public Libraries.

“We will be getting a grant from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) for about $8,400. Then we are going to apply for $21,420 through New York state and that would be either a 50 percent or 25 percent” matching grant, she said. “That would depend on how many other libraries apply for the grant. If not many apply for the grant, it would be 75 percent.”

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