The Orange County Library System’s Board of Trustees just agreed to pursue a plan with the City of Orlando and Orange County to open two new library branches and they have their eyes set on Horizon West and Lake Nona.
Both communities have been petitioning the library to build branches in their communities for the past few years but OCLS had lacked the funds to answer the call. The City of Orlando presented an offer at the July 8 Board of Trustees meeting that would include a new library branch as part of the new Southeast Orlando Government Center being proposed for Dowden Road. The building will be constructed at the city’s expense, as well as parking and infrastructure, and leased to the library system at market value.
The new branch in Horizon West will be located on a parcel near the Hamlin Groves Trail which will share parking with an adjacent County recreation center. “The library has long had an interest in expanding services in Lake Nona and Horizon West, but it was not in our budget to purchase land and begin construction in two locations at once,” said Library Director/CEO Mary Anne Hodel in a prepared statement. “This plan would make it possible to do exactly that and to give both communities libraries that we can be proud of. We are grateful to the city and county for coming to the table with this innovative proposal.”
The board must still be given financial information on the leases, which is estimated to take at least six months to prepare. Once complete, commissioners from both Orange County and the City of Orlando will need to approve the plans before it can become official.