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Library has a new home - at least for a while

By JACKIE RIPLEY
Published February 16, 2007


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Library officials finally have found a temporary home for West Gate Regional Library. And not a minute too soon.

"We've kept our noses to the grindstone," said Jean Ann Kennedy, president of the Friends of the West Gate Regional Library. "I know there were rumors we were going to close but we're not."

The move, which includes relocating books, periodicals and computers to a building about 3 miles away, is necessary because the library on Paula Drive is set for a major renovation.

"We're very pleased and anxious to get in," Kennedy said.

The temporary library will be housed in a former bank building less than a block east of Anderson Road at 5455 W Waters Ave.

It will be about 5,000 square feet smaller than the Paula Drive library but still should serve its purpose.

"The facility will offer all the services we offer now," Kennedy said. "It will also have individual tutoring rooms, which is a wonderful asset."

Finding an area large enough to meet the needs of a library without having walls that had to be removed was a challenge, Kennedy said, especially since there was no money in the budget for major renovations.

"We were really blessed to find this space," she said. "There is wonderful bus service with three buses every half hour."

Hillsborough County commissioners must approve the move, a decision library officials hope to have by the end of the month.

That should allow the contractor sufficient time to meet the library's projected March 15 construction start date.

The new library is part of the Town 'N Country Community Plan. It calls for a neo-traditional neighborhood with a pedestrian-friendly downtown at Paula and Ambassador drives and a mix of homes and retail.

The $8.6-million library is expected to take about a year to complete.

Jackie Ripley can be reached at ripley@sptimes.com or at 813 269-5308.

[Last modified February 15, 2007, 08:23:04]


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