Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Funds Lag, but Library Projects Alive

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Funds Lag, but Library Projects Alive

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon, Shorelines staff writer

The St. Johns County Commission hasn't budgeted money in the next fiscal year for a new front entry and park for the Ponte Vedra Beach branch library, but officials said the projects still are alive.

"I want the front of this building to be an inviting place for people," said Betty Frederick, branch manager of the library off Florida A1A.

The front of the building was supposed to be spruced up when the library was expanded two years ago. But the renovation of the facade that could have cost up to $70,000 was scrapped because of budgetary concerns then.

This week, County Commissioner Bruce Maguire complained there was no funding for the frontal makeover in the proposed budget for the 2003-04 fiscal year. He's also pushing for funding to help kick-start a park behind the library.

"We certainly would support that," said Sol Hirsch, assistant director for the county's library system. "We're very much encouraged, and to beautify the entire site would be great."

The facade makeover has always been planned, Hirsch said, and while it was taken out of the original expansion budget, his office did request that the money be available in the upcoming budget.

"Oh yeah, we made a request for next year for $75,000 to be included in the budget," Hirsch said, noting the request was submitted in February. "That amount was not part of the recommendation by the county administrator [Ben Adams]. And it was reviewed by a committee of county staff that reviews all capital projects, and it wasn't deemed to be high priority. But we did make the request."

Given the staff rejection, Hirsch said it's up to county commissioners to come up with funding if it's going to happen.

"The commissioners can reintroduce projects such as this," Hirsch said. "The compelling reason would be that it was part of the original building design plan and it should be included to finish the project. …

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