Winter Park gets the go-ahead to build new library

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PHOTO VIA WINTER PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
  • Photo via Winter Park Public Library
The city of Winter Park can start issuing bonds to construct its $30 million library project in the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Park, according to a ruling handed down by a judge.

Back in March, voters approved a referendum to issue $30 million in bonds for a proposed 50,000-square-foot library, 8,000-square-foot civic center and a one-level parking garage near West Morse Boulevard and Harper Street. The current Winter Park Public Library is a 33,000-square-foot building on East New England Avenue, and library officials say the older building is inadequate for today's needs.

While the project won approval from voters, a group of Winter Park residents under a political action committee called "Save Our Library WP" came out against the new library for various reasons and supported keeping the old library. The Orlando Sentinel reports the group says the city wasn't clear to voters on where the library would be, an assertion that city officials contend. A group of residents unsuccessfully tried to get city commissioners to vote on the project's location and were rejected.

The Sentinel reports "Save Our Library WP" filed a suit against the city of Winter Park in September. Michael Poole, a a local investment banker who chairs the committee, tells the Sentinel that the group is still deciding whether it will appeal the judge's recent decision. Mary Gail Dufresne Coffee, the library's community relations director, says the judge's decision allows the city and the library to move forward and "build the library and events center that the voters approved," according to the Sentinel.

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