Today’s news:

City fires contractor on library

The contractor's name was not available at press time, but the spokeswoman said the firm was taken off the job after not showing up for work in May and progressing slowly at other times. The decision was made during a meeting June 18 at the department, which is overseeing the project for the Queens Borough Public Library system.

Under the terms of the contract, the bonding company, also not named, is responsible for the job and must find a new contractor to restart work by July 26. It could not be determined if that replacement has taken place yet.

Construction of the library at the corner of Linden Boulevard and 219th is halfway through the two-year time schedule, the spokeswoman said, with the facility scheduled to open in 2005. She did not yet know if the current delay would affect the completion date.

But Richard Hellenbrecht, chairman of Community Board 13, which covers Cambria Heights, said the work was just 20 percent complete now. At a board meeting Monday, he said the groundbreaking on the library only began after years of efforts by area leaders.

"It was scheduled to open after a lot of fights by this board, civic groups and local politicians," Hellenbrecht said.

The new library will be more than three times as big as the current branch, located about three miles away. The additional space will be used for new computers, facilities for the disabled and a community meeting space. Construction was funded by the City Council and Borough President Helen Marshall.

City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) was also instrumental in gaining approval for the site and sought an explanation this week for the delay. From initial reports, he said the problem should be resolved in the next couple of weeks.

"I want that library built," Comrie said.

Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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