Orange County Library System’s Board of Trustees, the City of Orlando and Orange County have agreed to pursue a plan to work together to build new library branches in Horizon West and Lake Nona. Both communities have been requesting that the library build new branches to serve their growing populations, but the library has not had the funds to construct two facilities at the same time. A new concept put forth by the city and county at the library’s July 8 board meeting would help the library secure locations in both areas and make it possible to begin work on two branches at once.
According to a presentation from the city and county, the city of Orlando would design and construct the Lake Nona Branch as part of a new government center proposed for Dowden Road. Design and construction would be at the city’s expense, and the facility would be leased to the library upon its completion. In Horizon West, the library would have a ground lease for portion of a parcel off Hamlin Groves Trail where it would design and construct a new library. The branch would share parking and outdoor space with adjacent county recreation and community facilities. The proposal would save the library from having to make the upfront capital outlay in Lake Nona, and it would create long-term cost savings in Horizon West by sharing parking, outdoor areas and other amenities with nearby county facilities.
“The library has long had an interest in expanding services in Lake Nona and Horizon West, but it was not in our budget to purchase land and begin construction in two locations at once,” said Library Director/CEO Mary Anne Hodel. “This plan would make it possible to do exactly that, and to give both communities libraries that we can be proud of. We are grateful to the city and county for coming to the table with this innovative proposal.”
“This partnership is a true collaborative effort between the city, Orange County and the library to work toward a creative solution to benefit all residents through investments in important community amenities,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Through the development of the new government center we’ll be able to bring more services out into the community and its connection with the library will allow us to help extend more education opportunities for our residents.”
“The Lake Nona and Horizon West projects will, through combined resources, save taxpayer money and provide convenient library locations for residents in multiple communities,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. “This partnership is another example of how collaboration helps us build a community that works for everyone by having more local learning and education options for our residents.”
“The decision to co-locate the Lake Nona Library with the City of Orlando’s southeast government center is a great example of combining taxpayer resources for the benefit of the entire community,” said Orlando Commissioner District 1 Jim Gray. “I’m grateful for the collaboration and partnership with our other government agencies, Orange County and the Orange County Library System, to help bring these increased amenities and additional services to our residents.”
The Board of Trustees approved a motion to pursue working with the city and county on both locations, but the concept is contingent upon approval by all parties. An agreement is expected to come before the Library Board, Orange County Commission and the Orlando City Council before the end of 2021 for approval.
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