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New library won't bear Ellis name

While this city has a Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital, it won't have a Helen Ellis Tarpon Springs Library.

A private charity set up by the late millionaire banker A. L. Ellis has released the city from its commitment to name the library for Ellis' late wife after a $250,000 donation.

Instead, the library simply will be known as the Tarpon Springs Public Library, according to a letter from Mayor Anita Protos to the Times.

Protos wrote that many residents had wanted that to be the name all along.

"The Ellis Foundation and representatives of the Ellis family have been longtime supporters of the city, and they, too, recognize the need to maintain a strong sense of community," Protos wrote.

Fran Myzel said she had collected signatures from 100 people who didn't want the new Lemon Street library named after the late Mrs. Ellis.

Stanley Gibson, chairman of the Ellis Foundation Inc., said the foundation approached the city about the name change.

Construction on the new 20,000-square-foot library is scheduled to be completed by late October, with library operations moving from Craig Park about Thanksgiving. A grand opening is expected in January, said Liz O'Brien, the city's library director.

The library is costing about $1.6-million and has been financed with money from the Penny for Pinellas local option sales tax, grants and pledges. A fund-raising effort also raised at least $250,000 to furnish and equip the new library.

One of the notable contributors was Michael Cantonis, president of Acme Sponge & Chamois Co., who gave $100,000.

But that wasn't all Cantonis gave. On July 1, he wrote a letter to Protos announcing he would make an additional $100,000 donation to the library in two installments; one at the end of this year and the second during the first six months of next year.

Cantonis, who is in Greece, asked Protos to keep his gift a secret for a few days.

She did.