The City of Winter Park has received the go-ahead to issue the bonds to demolish the existing Winter Park Library and build a new one near Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
The decision marks the end of a two-year-long process during which the city decided to build it there after much public input and discussion at City Council meetings.
At a vote in the election during March 2016, the bond referendum for the project passed with 5,416 voting in favor of the issuance of the bonds and 5,202 voting against.
“Judge Schreiber’s ruling confirms the city’s position that the project has already gone to vote and the matter has been decided by the voters to build the project at MLK Park,” explained City Manager Randy Knight.
However, a vocal contingent against the building of the library, under the Facebook group “Save Our Library WP,” is challenging the project. According to resident Michael Poole, they’ve filed a petition ordinance challenging where the new library should be located.
He doesn’t expect that to go anywhere until next year at this point. But city Public Information Officer Clarissa Howard said it’s the last thing holding up the construction of the new library.
Poole says they’re not opposed to the building of the library, they just don’t want it at the park.
“Putting it there eliminates green space,” he said. “And it reduces the view. If you’re looking at an open green space, it ruins the view to have a 120 square-foot building there. Plus, there’s historical value to that park. We condemned poor peoples’ houses to create that park. There are plenty of other good places to have the new library in the city.”
Howard says the location was ideal because it allows users of the library a beautiful park along with their library-going experience.
“This location allowed the library and events center functions to embrace the tranquility and offerings of the surrounding park and encouraged interplay and interaction with both locations,” she wrote to FloridaPolitics.com. “Learning comes in different forms and having a gorgeous park surround a learning and event facility was ideal.