Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore recalls pedaling his bicycle to the local library when he was young, so he could get his hands on its books and magazines.
It was an enjoyable part of his youth, the commissioner said, and he wants the county to expand that opportunity to more people by building a new library in Wesley Chapel.
He mentioned the importance of laying the groundwork to help make that happen, during a recent discussion of the Pasco County budget for fiscal year 2021.
Moore said he’s simply trying to move the idea forward by obtaining some money in the coming year’s budget to begin to identify what the project would cost.
The county already has a site, next to Seven Oaks Elementary School, at 27633 Mystic Oaks Blvd., in Wesley Chapel. It has owned that land since 2004, he said.
He said he understands the county’s current capital plan doesn’t have money for another new library.
The county is part of a partnership that is creating a new library, district park and cultural center on the campus of the new Starkey Ranch K-8 School, which is expected to open in 2021.
While the county doesn’t have the money to pursue a new library in Wesley Chapel now, Moore wants to work toward making something within the next few years.
“We need to really work hard, in my opinion, and find a way to pull some funding together and find a way to get this ball rolling,” Moore said.
Wesley Chapel needs a library, he said. It’s not only the fastest-growing area of the county, it’s also among the fastest-growing areas of the state, he added.
“New River Library does a great job, there’s a lot renovations going on there.” But, he added: “It’s really not in the heart of Wesley Chapel. It’s really on the edge of Zephyrhills.
“A library is a huge, huge asset for our citizens — across the board. No matter what the demographic is, no matter what the income level is,” he added.
Libraries offer access to technology and Makerspaces, provide programming and entrepreneurial classes, and are a good place for groups to gather, among other things, Moore said.
So, the time has come to begin planning for a future Wesley Chapel library, Moore said, adding, “It doesn’t need to be the Taj Mahal.”
Published July 29, 2020