By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County Public Library officials have been working diligently with the community to gain input as to the location, size, as well as amenities they want to see in a future expanded library in Riverview. For the past few months residents had a chance to attend a number of public meetings to voice their concerns, which have confirmed patrons’ desires to see a much larger updated facility, and has prompted County officials to offer a list of potential locations for a brand new building within the borders of the Riverview community.
The list was narrowed down to four potential sites with the majority of responses—mainly for its convenient location—favoring a little more than seven-acre site on Hackney Drive, just east of U.S. 301 and north of the Alafia River, which is nearly eight miles from the current library at 10509 Riverview Dr.
The other three locations for consideration include two potential sites on Mathog Road, and west of U.S. 301 and south of the Alafia, close to the Kid’s Community College charter school. The fourth location is on Balm Riverview Road, south of the Alafia and east of U.S. 301, within walking distance of Riverview High School.
A new location is the first step in the process as the 8,000 sq. ft. and 35 year-old current building is outdated and too small for the increased customer use accompanied by new development in the area in recent years. Library officials said the new site will accommodate a new possibly 20-25,000 sq, ft., facility, with room to expand, featuring plenty of room for technology instruction, public meetings and a children’s library.
“The entire board of county commissioners are supporting this project and we want you to determine the services, the characteristics and amenities that are befitting the Riverview community,” said Commissioner Ken Hagan.
The estimated total cost of the project is $7 million. While county officials estimate the new building completion date for mid to late 2018, library project manager Janet Marnatti would not speculate on when to expect a decision on the site.
Officials are promising to hold more meetings once a site is chosen to offer input on what the new library will look like and how it will function. Call 273-3652 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.hcplc.org and this story on www.ospreyobserver.com for a map of the potential sites.