Winter Park City Commission is asking residents living near the former library building, located at 460 E. New England Ave., for their input on the future of the property. A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 12, from 5:30-7 p.m. in City Hall Commission Chambers at 401. S. Park Ave. The public can also attend and share their comments.
Efforts to refurbish the 44-year-old building are entering yet another phase as a new request for proposals (RFP) in its reuse is under discussion. A previous RFP, with an abbreviated solicitation period and an extensive list of restrictions, only yielded one proposal to renovate the building for co-working and office use. The proposal was eventually scrapped over financial issues.
Among the concerns surrounding the reuse of the property is the possible impact of increased traffic on neighboring residents. This was the main reason for many of the development restrictions in the original RFP. While City Commission has rethought several restrictions, food service and retail tenants remain dealbreakers for any reuse proposal.
The ongoing debate over the property began with a 2019 task force, appointed to evaluate the site and solicit suggestions for its use. Recently, the city received a total of six letters of interest from local nonprofits hoping to repurpose the property for uses that range from administration and museum exhibits to performing and fine arts spaces. However, City Commission cannot come to a consensus on whether the existing building should be repurposed or replaced with a new facility.
The June 12 meeting will not be broadcast and there will be no opportunity for virtual participation. City staff will offer a presentation, followed by comments from neighboring residents and the community. For more information, go to CityofWinterPark.org/government/meetings.