How to reuse the library
Could the Winter Park Library building house a new City Hall someday?
Winter Park City Commissioners directed staff during their Monday meeting to look into the existing Winter Park Public Library property as a potential site for City Hall down the road, the result of a broad conversation on significant properties throughout the city.
Last month’s approval of a bond referendum for a new library at Martin Luther King Jr. Park has raised an all important question: what will happen to the existing library building down the road?
The City Commission briefly approached this question Monday, intrigued at the possibility of putting a new City Hall there someday.
“There’s been a lot of talk over the years about moving some of the back-of-house functions out of city hall, in which case we don’t need a building this size,” City Manager Randy Knight said. “One of the main options we propose here is looking at the current library site as a potential future City Hall and taking this site and either marketing it for sale or for lease.”
Knight added that the city would still have figure out whether they’d retrofit City Hall into the existing library building or demolish the library and start from the ground up.
“I would love to see three or more votes to study the use of the library building as a potential City Hall, not that I’ve concluded that that’s what we should do, but that I think it’s important to understand how we might utilize that building,” Weldon said.
But City Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel was skeptical about using the library building for a new City Hall, due to numerous issues within the building such as Wi-Fi connectivity that forced the library to relocate in the first place.
“I pretty much figured out if you can’t get Wi-Fi in there now, you’re going to have to figure out some other way to get it,” Sprinkel said.
Commissioner Greg Seidel chimed in that an architectural connection between city buildings would add a unique charm to the downtown core.
“I think it would be very unique in the city if we tied the architecture of City Hall to our train station, as well as our library somehow, so you know it’s a public building. We’re a train station town,” Seidel said. “To me that sets it apart from a lot of the Rollins features in town. Maybe new facades would be something to look at on the buildings.”
City Commissioners agreed that Winter Park needs to investigate the reuse of the library building regardless of whether it becomes a new City Hall in the future.
“I think exploring the possibility of the reuse of that facility is not only fiscally responsible, but from a sustainability perspective I think it’s very important that we see what it takes to reuse that building,” said Commissioner Carolyn Cooper, adding that she believes the library building should be either leased or reused, not sold.