A new Wesley Chapel Library has moved a step closer to reality.
The Pasco County Commission has authorized negotiations with FleischmanGarcia Architecture and Planning, as its first choice to handle the project’s design.
The board shortlisted the top firms vying for the job, during its Nov. 9 meeting. If negotiations with FleischmanGarcia are unsuccessful, the county would move on to begin negotiations with the second-ranked firm.
Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore began talking up the idea well over a year ago, telling his colleagues during discussions of the budget for 2021 that it was important to begin laying the groundwork to make that happen.
Moore has a soft spot in his heart for libraries. He recalls riding his bicycle to the library when he was young, to get his hands on books and magazines.
He sees libraries as community assets — because they have something to offer to people of all ages and walks of life.
Initially, Moore was simply trying to move the project forward.
It got a push, however, when the county board decided to set aside funding from the American Rescue Plan to build the library.
“The goal is to have it under construction next fiscal year,” County Administrator Dan Biles, told those gathered at a breakfast meeting of the North Tampa Bay Chamber. The breakfast meeting was at the Porter Campus of Pasco-Hernando State College, which is in Wesley Chapel.
The county has owned the planned library’s site since 2004. It’s next to Seven Oaks Elementary, which is at 27633 Mystic Oaks Blvd.
The planned Wesley Chapel library is just the latest news involving the county’s library system.
It also received national recognition for the design of the Starkey Ranch Theatre Library and Cultural Center, which opened this year at 12118 Lake Blanche Drive, in Odessa.
The county also is in the midst of modernizing all of its branches, using proceeds of a bond issue approved by 66% of Pasco County voters in a 2018 referendum.
The Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, and Hugh Embry Branch Library in Dade City are both closed now, for renovation. The New River Library, at 34043 State Road 54, in Wesley Chapel, now completely updated, has reopened.
Published December 08, 2021