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Library at Craig Park won't be expanded

Craig Park is not among the options for an expanded library.

In a 3-2 decision Tuesday night, city commissioners opted not to include the current location in the considerations for an expanded library site. Commissioner Dudley Salley said he did not want to consider the site because it was not recommended by the task force the commission created for that purpose. He was joined by Mayor Anita Protos and Commissioner Frank DiDonato. Commissioners Cindy Domino and Blaine LeCouris wanted to add Craig Park to the list.

"My objection (if the commission put the site on the list) is what it conveys," Salley said. "We had a couple of commissioners who were unhappy with (Craig Park) being left off and solicited a change of vote from two missing task force members."

Two weeks ago, the library task force recommended four locations for expansion of the library. Craig Park was not included. Domino, who had asked for the park to be looked at, said she wanted to get as much information about the present site as well as the other four.

"I love that park as much as anyone else," Domino said. "But I can visualize the expansion there. The only way to find out the answer is to put it on this list and have staff come back with answers."

DiDonato said the library's current location is a poorly designed and constructed building. The city should look into getting a better library, not just expand the old one, he said.

"It is not the end of the world if the library is not in Craig Park," DiDonato said. "At some point you have to draw the line somewhere and say "That's it.' I am drawing that line tonight."

City staff now will whittle down the list of four locations _ the former People's Hardware Store on Tarpon Avenue, 2.5 acres at Pinellas Avenue and Cypress Street, the former Kidney Dialysis Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and the Tarpon Arcade on Pinellas Avenue _ to two sites. That information will be brought back in a commission work session.

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