the staff of the Ridgewood Blog
Ridgewood NJ, During the last Maple Ave library expansion,the library patrons went to the Pease. When the new library opened, the Portrait of George Pease and some other pictures, memorabilia was moved to the main floor of the renovated libary; the section was renamed “The George L. Pease Memorial Library” Once that was done, the library board, headed by Nancy Greene, and with Janet Fricke on the board, the council went to court and voided the will, because “the functions of the Pease were being served at the new library building” This was done in 1999.the Library Board (not the Village) and Sidney Stoldt, who argued the case for the Library,were in agreement that the building be closed to the public as no longer necessary.The 911 emergency center rent goes directly to the library board, and not one cent to repairs. The village residents have paid twice: once in library budget, and once separately for all repairs, including the roof. All rent from upstairs tenants, e.g. realtor, lawyer, etc. would go directly to the LIbrary Board, not the public. No member of the public was alerted to the court appearance.
All was readied for commercial rent when, in the Fall of 1999, Hurricane Floyd hit, and the police were moved into the building since it was so high and dry. The police worked closely with the Historic Preservation Commission to make certain that no part of the wood structure was ruined; they kept it as pristine as possible.
This entire lawsuit was done under the radar; in fact, when one resident attended a council meeting in 1999, and the title of a resolution was read, the resident questioned what it meant and was told that she couldn’t ask questions “at that time”.
Nobody cared, and to this day, most residents don’t care, so we have what we deserve.
Yes, I wish we could all chip in to save the building; that was the plan agreed upon by the Council when the historic grants were supposed to be applied for. Most of the matching grants would have been paid for by private funds, it was privately promised; and this was told to the Council. The promise was made that the building would be open to the public. For David Bolger to appear 24 hours before a promise to keep the building open and apply for grants is no mystery. The fix was in from the beginning. Now the council could look as if they really were considering public use, but they weren’t. All the Council members voted to accept the Bolger money.
Is it too late? Its up to the readers of this blog. Others have done more than their share; if more people would stand up, things could be reversed. But if only a dozen people are interested, the building will be stolen.