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May 8, 2015

either leave the library where it is, ( fixing what needs to be done) or put it next to city hall………not on green space in any of the parks

Ed Gfeller
May 8, 2015

I’m not surprised that the history of our current library does not include the Hannibal Square Library which Edwin Grover together with the Hannibal Square Community built in 1937 after his wife’s death. It was known as the Mertie Graham Grover Memorial Library at Hannibal Square. It was a major education force for our West-side neighbors and provided reading and social space for the Hannibal Square community. My main concern is that I don’t want to see a Rollins college Parking Garage at the entrance to Winter Park on Osceola Avenue in lieu of the current library.

WP Fact Check
May 8, 2015

The selection process of the Library committee, like the selection of the Visioning committee, was done specifically to ensure that the final recommendations of the Library committee would be those of the majority of the Winter Park City Commission, regardless of public input or any objective criteria.

In April we saw a list of additional Visioning committee members approved 4-1 by Commissioners that came with the veil of “Staff Recommendations” and “Representatives of Winter Park Groups.” to conceal the overall development bias of the members selected, ensuring ultimate overwhelming Visioning committee support for development, so as to “steer” the public input process towards these aims.

So too Commissioners also stacked the Library committee deck with “Winter Park Public Library” representatives. The committee was set up so each commissioner could appoint one representative and then there were three additional representatives designated as “Winter Park Public Library.”

Who are the members of the Library Committee who deciding if a new library is best for Winter Park and if so where?

Sam Stark appointed by Steven Leary. Stark was once executive director of Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. He now is President and CEO of Massey Communications, a subsidiary of Massey Services which many know as the pest control company.

Gary Barker appointed by Carolyn Cooper is an optometrist

Nancy Miles appointed by Tom McMacken is treasurer of Womens Club of Winter Park

Joel Roberts appointed by Ken Bradley is an attorney with Baker Hostettler. His bio page on the firm’s website brags that he “obtained summary judgement ruling in height ordinance case that allowed a developer client to construct a townhouse in excess of height restrictions.”

Chip Weston appointed by Sarah Sprinkel has a marketing company specializing in (among other things) community development.

So, that’s five. Now just to make sure that the deck was sufficiently stacked, the City Commission majority added three “Winter Park Public Library” members to the committee. Who are these members?

Daniel Butts, Chief Operating Officer, Battaglia Group Managment LLC, a commercial real estate developer in Winter Park.

Jeffry Jontz, an attorney with Swan, Hadley, Stump, Dietrich, and Spears, a law firm whose website notes “real estate transactions” first in its list of concentrations.

Jan Walker, a real estate broker with Parkland International Realty

Winter Park is a city of 29,000 people, yet the Library committee is stacked 5 to 2, five members representatives of real estate development related businesses and two members representing every butcher, baker, candlestick maker, and every other type of businessperson, retiree, or worker in Winter Park.

The Library committee is a real estate development committee. Period. The goal is to convert Martin Luther King, Jr. Park to developed real estate. The library, if approved, would be the first shoe to drop. It is proposed at the corner of Morse and Denning, so that infill of the other undeveloped parts of the park along those streets could take place next, such as retail and apartments, once that corner is developed. Next will come a proposal for an art museum on the same site.

Leonard Feinberg, Architect
May 8, 2015

I suggest moving the library temporarily into leased office space, tear down the existing library and build the new City Hall on that site, then build a new library with greenspace on the old City Hall site.

Brian Furey
May 8, 2015

The idea of locating the library at Denning & Morse is appealing. Given a well conceived building and parking scheme, it could be a wonderful learning and meeting venue. Overlooking the lake would provide a pleasing view of the park and encourage multiuse of the facility. This location would also serve to further integrate the Westside into the mainstream of the Winter Park community, adding dimension to MLK park. Proper setbacks and terracing would preserve the sightlines from Denning and Morse. This location is worthy of further consideration.

May 8, 2015

All though the Park would be a lovely setting for the library the convience of that location away from the residence of Winter Park and into the commerical area of Winter Park would be a mistake. The location the Library is a joy as it stands . It is on the edge of the downtown without going thru downtown..and traffic and lights . Just a thought as a patron this relocation would make me………..very sad?

Bonnie Osgood
May 14, 2015

It seems there are a couple of good options. I like architect Leonard Feinberg’s suggestion but does that option provide the additional space needed? I think the most sensible option was presented by Daniel Butts, who recommended MLK park IF indeed it will only use 1 acre plus parking, of the existing space. However, the design of the building in the overall space of the park would be critical in the future determination of it being an asset or eyesore. Love the ideas of porches, open spaces, and optional reading spaces. As we plan for any future buildings in our downtown core which has such limited space, I believe the spaces must be multi-functional. I would love to see a large open space designated for exhibits of art and history and that also could be rented to the public for special events. A long term plan might be to connect the library and civic center to provide more a large space for special events that could accommodate 500 people at a seated dinner. Thi s is sorely needed in WP for charity functions, weddings, and many other special events. Currently if you hold a special event in WP you have to limit attendance as most buildings cannot accommodate more than 300 seated guests. The rental of the space would be a nice revenue source for the city to cover maintenance and building costs. Carolyn Cooper’s concern of blocking the view from Denning is legitimate but I believe could be mitigated with exemplary design that incorporates the beauty of a park with beautiful architecture and landscaping. Our future library could serve as a national model that incorporates cutting edge technology in informational resources with a building that uses alternative energy sources such as solar, geo-thermal, and green building materials (tax incentives?). A community garden could also be incorporated into the space…the options are endless for making this one of the most attractive public spaces in WP. If MLK park is actually underutilized then a comprehensive and collaboration plan to provide to maximize the use of the 27 acres for all citizens to use makes sense for WP future. For those of us living downtown, who can walk to the library it will be an adjustment to adapt to the new location. Most cities would consider an additional mile or half mile still walking distance. The benefits of the new space will outweigh the convenience for some. Alternative methods of transportation within the city must be used for within city transportation….we do not have the infrastructure nor can we sustain the impact of more cars. Also, I agree we should NOT sell the property at the existing library site and absolutely NO parking garage there!!! If we as citizens want a new library that meets our future needs we will need to pay for it.

Pitt Warner
May 14, 2015

I like Morse and Denning but it wouldn’t bother me re-doing Rachel Murrah Civic Center or building it downtown. I think downtown is too crowded but if it has to be….First choice for me is sell current building to Rollins for appraised value, build in MLK and make it a showpiece for C. Florida. We’re WP. Why settle for anything but the best? As to the makeup of the task force, they have a thankless job that will be ultimately judged by the WP taxpayer. If we vote no on bonds, no new library. You may knock the volunteer task force members (anonymously, of course) but you will have a say in the outcome of the decision. You can form a PAC, take out ads, write a infinitum to lodge your protests. But you will have to give us your name

nancy shutts
May 14, 2015

I have watched and listened to this task force over the year, and can assure all of you that there is no hidden agenda for any of the members. They have done an incredible job of evaluating all angles and issues. It is time to listen to their full report and recommendation and put aside personal bias and narrow minded views. There is no sensible logic to some of the comments on why the library should or should not be in some locations when the study has found otherwise. I want the community as a whole to decide this and not an activist group or the commission.

Rick Geller
May 14, 2015

Great cities build their libraries in prominent locations in their downtown cores. Think of the New York Public Library, the Boston Public Library, the Philadelphia Free Library, and the Library of Congress. Their locations speak volumes about how these cities value knowledge, learning, and research.

Our library belongs in Downtown Winter Park to show how much we value this institution. Street life is abundant, ensuring that myriad Winter Park residents will be attracted to the library, including many of us (and our kids) on bicycles. Downtown has the best access, for both east side and west side residents. A magnetic strip on our library cards can provide access to a dedicated floor of a structured parking garage shared with City Hall.

The MLK site has virtually no street life. In an era when we are increasingly likely to read on a computer tablet, It makes little sense to construct the library in an out-of-sight, out-of-mind location.

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