New Commission - Old Divisions
Library Still a Bone of Contention
Anyone who saw in the most recent election the opportunity for resolution regarding the library and its future location may be disappointed. Discussion at the March 28 Commission meeting seemed to indicate that the Commissioners have a ways to go before they find themselves singing from the same page.
Seidel and Leary Disagree on Location
Commissioner Greg Seidel stated his preference for the library to remain in the downtown core of the City. Mayor Steve Leary was emphatic in his preference for the Rachel Murrah Civic Center site in Martin Luther King, Jr., Park.
Sprinkel and Cooper Looking for a Plan
Commissioners Sarah Sprinkel and Carolyn Cooper acknowledged the plan for this facility is still in its infancy and will require further lengthy discussion. This part of the process will probably move right along, however, since the Request for Qualification (RFQ) for an architectural design firm was issued on March 16, the day following the election. Submissions are due April 21.
Referendum Language a Problem
A major sticking point seemed to be the bond referendum language that was on the March 15 ballot, which did not mention the intended library site. In a spirited exchange with Commissioner Cooper, Mayor Leary observed that everyone knew the recommended site was in MLK Park, and that to even discuss deviating from that plan would “fail the smell test,” amounting to “bait and switch” for the voters. Cooper reminded Leary that when she had moved to specify the location in the referendum language, the Commission had withheld its support.
City Attorney: ‘You Can Sue’
City Attorney Kurt Ardaman articulated the means by which the City could deviate from the MLK Park site by filing a bond validation lawsuit. Ardaman explained that while the referendum wording does not irrevocably tie the project to a location, it does dictate the shape of the project. Because of the referendum language, the City must build a combination library/civic center/parking garage – wherever they build it.
The Commissioners agreed to continue the discussion at the April 11 Commission meeting.
Disposal of Library Property?
The April 11 agenda will include the matter of naming rights, which will accrue to citizens who donate money to the library to fulfill the Library Board of Trustees’ obligation to raise $2.5 Million toward construction costs. The other item on that agenda, sure to inspire some spirited dialogue from the dais, will be the disposition of the current library property.
Commissioners also should take into account that the vote for building a new library was not soundly in favor of building a new library as well as where it should be constructed and cost to property owners.
There is nothing wrong with spending $30 MILLION if the community benefits. I fear we may be going in the wrong direction.
A library, as a collection of research books, is as passé as a butter milk churn. That era has past.
A professor at the University of South Florida reported that they recently shut down two floors of research material due to inactivity. Students were using the Internet instead.
In the same length of time it takes to read one chapter of one medical publication, I was able to search, using the Internet, all the studies of the last year on the same subject. Considering that most hard copy information is months, if not years, old; the online information is more current and far more accessible.
Within a decade, 99% of research materials, user’s guides, and textbooks will be readily available on line; and 99.99% of citizens, young and old, will have more than one method of accessing the Internet.
There is no logical reason why a retired couple, in Winter Park, should be paying $200 per year for a service from which they gain nothing.
PLEASE be cautious about what is being planned. LOOK FORWARD, NOT BACKWARD.
1391 Oneco Avenue
What is going to happen to the existing Library site.. the City should sell it to offset costs and lower the bond requirement….I bet Rollins would contract and defer ownership until the new facility was ready…
The info above from D. Thompson is the most rational input I have read. I think W PK. needs to start all over and consider a library that is for the online present and more so for the future. I voted “NO” on the Library but thought it was poorly worded. I frankly don’t want to pay that much money a year for something so undecided and already antiquated .
Like you, I thought the bricks and mortar library days were over. Then I met with a library consultant and reviewed the stats. Contrary to my thoughts, the internet has not lessened the demand for information at library. It has increased it. Classes, videos, research are all increasing due to internet. Read the stats on usage for the last 20 years. You may not come to my conclusion, but it will make sense why they need a new facility to handle the increases. If a retired couple is paying $200 a year, they are living in a home with a $400,000 assessment. I think a world class library will provide a tangible benefit for all residents.
We need a World Class libtrary in Winter Park with 28,000 residents…not all paying property tax? Really?
Hold a special election in 60 days with all the details on the proposed project and proposed disposition of the current facilities, and nothing else on the ballot. The serious minded residents who have carefully studied the library issue from all sides will vote, and the matter will be settled once and for all.
With the group of loonies who showed up a couple weeks ago to vote for president during this most unusual election, they could have put $300 million on the ballot for the bond, and would have gotten the same election results .
“group of loonies”? Thanks a bunch. If you’re going to call people names at least put your name to it.
Kindly stop incorrectly equating a public library with a university library. Our library does not have vast stores of dusty unused research materials and its primary purpose is not to serve academic research needs. Our library is a vibrant hub that has book clubs, story times for little ones, tutors, computer classes, presentations and workshops, popular and educational reading material, and much more.
Further, Mr. Thompson should cite his sources on just how all of these things will be made electronic as my understanding is that there are many difficulties in securing copyright to make such a thing possible. And our own library has posted a link to the study done recently that shows college students preferring physical texts over electronic texts.
Of course, again, our library is not a college library and should not be compared to such. Rollins has a fine library but it is in no way the same as our lovely public library. It is designed to support a different audience.
Leaving all that aside, the sour grapes continue to astound. Good heavens, must we never lose gracefully in Winter Park?
I will be writing my Commissioners a letter should they decide to trick the voters by moving the location to the Post Office suggestion. I do not want a monstrously large complex including a large Post Office built in Central Park and taking over the West Meadow. And it will cost even more tax dollars to accomplish such a bait and switch! The proposed location is a fine choice that makes sense for the City’s future.
I recall the City Attorney advising the City Commissioners not to include a location in the bond language as that could be a problem should something be found to be wrong with the proposed location. This is common practice. No exact location was specified in the Public Safety Building Bond either but we citizens all knew where it was proposed to go and voted as such.
I voted for the Civic Center location because I believed that was the best location and also the location delivered to me in all City communications and Library communications. I assume people voted against the library for various reasons some of which had nothing to do with the location such as the tax cost.
Contemplating moving the library from the proposed Civic Center location is a shock to the voters like me who voted Yes specifically because of the location.
Still favor The Branch Library system. Not only will I be going to the Maitland Library, I shall request my gifts, not monetary, to the Library be returned.
Maitland isn’t a branch either. Edgewater Branch and Herndon Branch of the OCLS are the closest “Branch” Libraries to Winter Park. Have fun.
I’m old enough to remember NFL football before instant replay. In the old days, a referee couldn’t always see that foot inches out of bounds or a sucker punch to the receiver. So he called the plays the best he could – usually right, but not anywhere near always. Instant replay has changed all that and made the calls fairer.
Winter Park needs to go back and look at the game tapes of the recent library decision.
Some are claiming fraud or a stolen election, based on allegations of deceptive ballot wording and unusual timing of the vote. These points may be valid, but let’s forget all that for the moment The election is over.
The question now is do Winter Park politicians respect the residents enough to give voters the opportunity to “instant replay” their voting decision, and go back to the polls to either confirm it, or on second look call the library proposal “out of bounds” based on cost, location, need, size etc? Or our our politicians so hell bent on building a 50,000 sq. ft. barn that they don’t give a damn what the residents really want, and will run the steam engines down hill at full speed to seal the deal before residents have a chance to say, “After review of the tape of our decision, we call the new library proposal out of bounds. Second and Ten.”
We, as a community, deserve the chance go back to “the line of scrimage,” – Not in November – now! And hopefully a resolution that ensures that whatever proposal concerning the library ultimately prevails – moved, new, remodel, or same ol’, is something Winter Park residents really want. Because once building starts – maybe even once the contract is signed – no turning back folks.
Should commissioners not order an “instant replay,” they may likely face a penalty for delay of game – a resident created ballot initiative as permitted by the Winter Park City Charter – if they don’t schedule a re-vote very, very soon. And that’s something no commissioner wants. Because once residents realize they have the power to affect such change, commissioners may find that residents like the power and will use it again and again and again.
I never will understand why they cant just reuse the old library and add to the original structure. it does not seem logical to move it to another location at MLK park.
Top Reasons the Proposed MLK Library Site is Fatally Flawed
A community’s identity and brand are fragile. They must constantly be nurtured, or they go away. They lose their authenticity. They become bland. As we discuss the pros and cons for the proposed MLK Library site, what’s at stake here? Let’s review the checklist.
Context: Moving the library out of the downtown core is subtractive. It removes a keystone for multigenerational gatherings and focal points which build downtown synergy and above all identity. It’s like Winter Park’s smile just lost a big front tooth.
Context: 17-92/Mills is a commercial circus with new construction taking over the Unicorp/Best Western site and increased traffic and conflicting aesthetics creeping up Morse Ave. To most people, this sends a distinct message: RUN!
Context: To place a prized public asset in a burgeoning commercial district would go against the recommendation of any visioning process hitting on all cylinders. It’s a mismatch. It is remote. What checklist did MLK merit for library-site selection from our city-wide visioning team?
False lead: It is now clear. The civic center is the lead proposed asset for this site. The library is only secondary. Again, a mismatch. City Hall would be the better pairing.
Value: MLK is first and foremost a park. Let’s enhance that unique usage. It already serves a higher purpose. Why diminish it?
Leverage: Key word to community success: partnership. How can the Library partner with existing community organizations to take our venue to the next level of shared investment and enhanced community usage? Rollins?
Leadership: On whose watch will this take place? Will the Winter Park City Commission join the growing list of communities which trade valued public assets for the casino of short-term returns?
Honesty–there ARE other options. It might be worth taking an educated second look. Plan A? Plan B? It’s not a black and white world. Sometimes Plan C is the best answer.