Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zephyrhills council drops library relocation idea

ZEPHYRHILLS — A roomful of adults wielding strong opinions about where the city should locate its library didn't intimidate 9-year-old Sarah Juergens one bit.

Following protocol, Sarah handed City Clerk Linda Boan a slip of paper before Monday night's City Council meeting began, letting her know she had something to say about the library issue. The council had voted in November on a $1.5 million expansion and renovation of the library in its current location on Eighth Street, but some residents and business leaders asked officials to consider a vacant bank building on Fifth Avenue.

When her turn came, Sarah stood next to the lectern she couldn't see over and spoke with passion and animation.

"I don't want the library to be moved," said Sarah, who attended the meeting with her mother, Laura. "Where it's at now, kids can walk to it with their family members."

Putting the library on Fifth Avenue, where there is more traffic and closer proximity to U.S. 301, could be dangerous, Sarah said, holding a microphone with one hand and gesturing with the other. A kid could get hit by a car. An older person could get hit, too. So could someone in a wheelchair, she noted, and maybe even a whole family.

Proponents of relocating the library into the former Wachovia building spoke of the economic benefits such a move would bring. Downtown merchants might attract more customers from the additional foot traffic of library patrons. Tim Linville, one of the building owners, estimates the asset value to the city could be about $1.6 million with the library in his building, compared to roughly $1.4 million in its current home. Linville also questioned whether any pedestrians have ever been hit by cars while walking on Fifth Avenue. Police Chief David Shears couldn't say for sure.

Others joining Sarah in opposing relocation included Jerry Pricher, chairman of the library board, who handed over a petition with 525 signatures of folks who want the library to stay put.

City Council member Jodi Wilkeson asked her peers to reconsider the library location after a few dozen people showed up at the last regular council meeting sporting "Library on Fifth" stickers. She felt she owed it to constituents to take another look at the issue, even though previous studies determined the Wachovia building wasn't feasible for a library. Wilkeson believes there aren't any problems that can't be resolved.

Since the last meeting, City Manager Jim Drumm and council member Lance Smith said they have heard from the owners of other vacant buildings who want the city to consider their properties for the library. Both men said that if the council agreed to move forward with moving the library, they would need to follow the law and seek requests for proposals before making a final decision on where to put it.

In the end, Wilkeson's motion to reconsider the library location failed when no one on the council backed it up with a second.

Zephyrhills council drops library relocation idea 08/28/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 6:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Allegiant Air reports $400 million in revenue for second quarter

    Allegiant Air CEO Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. | [Courtesy of Tony Jannus Aviation Society]
  2. Dade City's Wild Things touts cub encounters as conservation, but experts say they lead to too many tigers languishing in cages


    DADE CITY — A lifelong animal lover, Lisa Graham was intrigued when she saw photos on social media of friends cuddling and petting baby tigers at zoos.

    A tiger named Andy is seen at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Big Cat Rescue is a nonprofit sanctuary committed to humane treatment of rescued animals, often coming from exploitive for-profit operations. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times

  3. Once close to death in Ukraine, sick girl finds hope in Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    Everything was packed for Walt Disney World. Clothes for three nights. The pressurized air vest and pump that travel with her. The dress she would wear to meet Cinderella.

    Marina Khimko, 13, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment Dec. 7 at the Shriners Hospital for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
  4. What you need to know for Thursday, July 27


    href=""> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Marina Khimko, now 14, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment at the Shriners Hospitals for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]
  5. Colors and culture in Cuba overwhelm first-time visitor


    I landed in Havana with many questions about what we would witness in our brief visit. There was so much rich history and culture I wanted to experience, but the stories I had heard from Cuban refugees rang in my brain. After the death of Fidel Castro, some Cuban immigrants danced in the streets of Tampa and told …

    Havana is a photographer's dream. Bright colors abound, from the walls to the classic cars to the streets filled with tourists, musicians and locals. All of these elements are a part of photographs that were so rare for Americans to capture until very recently. I loved photographing this scene in front of this perfect yellow wall.