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Commission puts off Hudson Library decision

After hearing pleas from five needy nonprofits, the County Commission on Tuesday evening postponed a decision on who should get the old Hudson Library building at 14120 Old Dixie Highway.

Commissioner Steve Simon said the flood-prone building needs costly repairs. The county needs to figure out how much the repairs would cost and whether the county or the new owner would pay.

"Where is the money going to come from to rehabilitate this place?" Simon asked. "Any decision to be made now (on who would get the building) would be a faulty decision."

Six nonprofits put in requests to use the 3,900-square-foot building after the last occupant, the Foundation for Computer Education, closed its doors. Originally home to Hudson's volunteer firefighters, the building was a library until the new Hudson Regional Library opened in 1990.

The proposals came from Hudson Seafest, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4412, West Pasco Habitat for Humanity, the Foundation for Instruction in Navigation and Seamanship (FINS) and Boating Education and Rescue Training, Hudson Area (BERTHA). Italian American War Veterans Post 8 withdrew it request for the building Monday.

"It's obvious there's more of a need than there is space," Commissioner Peter Altman said.

In other news Tuesday, commissioners agreed to explore the possibility of paving the rutted dirt roads in Moon Lake. The county will compile cost estimates. Commissioners will then hold public hearings to see whether residents would agree to pay an assessment to pave their private roads.

Last month, the county made emergency repairs to 21 washed-out roads in Moon Lake so emergency vehicles could get through. The U.S. Postal Service sent letters in September to 207 homeowners on 40 roads saying their mailboxes might have to be moved if the roads didn't improve.

Thanks to the emergency repairs, the Postal Service can reach most of those homes now, although it will likely move the mailboxes for five to 10 residents along Atlee Street, customer service manager Russell Holland told the Times.

Simon said the residents of Moon Lake need a permanent solution to their road problems.

"Without a hand (from the county), I don't think it's going to happen out there," said Simon.

Commissioners on Tuesday also got their first glimpse at the proposed U.S. 19 concurrency ordinance. The measure would essentially bar new businesses from making the traffic on the highway any worse, unless the business pays for road improvements to offset its impact, Assistant County Attorney David Goldstein said.

The county will hold public hearings on the measure Nov. 18 and Dec. 2 before the commission votes on it.

Commissioners also approved a contract to buy the 15-acre Lake Lisa site for a county park. The county will pay $700,000 for the winding tract along Regency Park Boulevard, just south of Embassy Boulevard.

_ Bridget Hall Grumet covers Pasco County government. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6244, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6244. Her e-mail address is hallsptimes.com.

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