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New library opens today

Building the Regency Park Branch Library has caused Pasco County officials a few problems, but they still are touting it as a model for the county's future branches. The library, on the west side of Little Road about a mile north of Ridge Road, is scheduled to open immediately after a ceremony at 9 a.m. today, and library officials expect to see a lot of patrons.

"We are going to be overwhelmed, and I tell you, I'm looking forward to it," branch manager Gene P. Coppola said.

Regency Park is the second library to be completed as a result of a 1986 referendum in which Pasco voters agreed to tax themselves and use the revenues to pay off $10-million in library construction and improvement bonds.

The library's opening comes about a year behind schedule, but Pasco officials say the county has not paid any more than they planned when they signed the contract for the $797,388 building in October 1988.

"In essence, we didn't provide any additional funding to complete the facility," County Attorney Ben Harrill said Thursday.

Finishing the building, however, has forced county officials to negotiate an agreement with the company that provided the bonds guaranteeing that the contractor would finish the job. Pasco officials also face some complicated litigation arising from problems with the contractor.

The result is that Amwest Surety Insurance Co., which issued the payment and performance bonds, has paid the county to hire Enterprise Building Corp. to finish the job that Z-United Constructors did not.

Including the cost of buying books, furniture and equipment, the county has spent about $1.7-million on the Regency Park library.

At 10,000 square feet, it is about a third of the size of the Hudson Area Branch Library, which opened in April.

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