Dorothy Whittall has longed for years that Bay Harbor Islands have a town library.
Seven years ago, the former librarian in Surfside promised her vote to then-town council candidate Jordan Leonard — now the mayor — if he pushed for a library.
On Thursday, Leonard, council members and Town Manager Ronald Wasson donned hard hats and shoveled a ceremonial pile of dirt to mark the beginning of a six-month project to develop a long-awaited community center in a 8,000 square foot space on the first floor of the 95th Street garage.
The center will have a library, which will help feed Whittall’s voracious appetite for books. She’s read 103 books already this year.
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“They really came through,” said Whittal, 85.
In addition to the stacks, the center will provide a permanent home for the town’s youth and senior programs. It will occupy a currently empty space at the southeast corner of the garage, directly across from the Ruth K. Broad K-8 Center.
Construction will cost $1.9 million, which is mostly coming from dollars the town received from transfer of development right deals. A state grant of $500,000 will also help pay.
“This is a real dream come true,” Leonard said.
Wasson said preliminary discussions about a community center started in 2008, but the project really started to take shape recently.
“It took a few years to get to this point,” he said.