Ringling plans spur new Longboat Library lease

Editor & Publisher

Longboat Library President Eileen Hassel did not like the phone call she received a week ago when Public Works Director Juan Florensa informed her that the town was only willing to renew the library’s lease for one year.

The Longboat Library, which was built more than 40 years ago,with money raised by volunteers, benefits from a lease agreement with the town that ends on June 15, 2016.

The current lease originated in 2007 and Hassel said a one-year lease would leave the organization with little room for planning and the inability for a rational approach to finding a new location.

Hassel said she had read the article in the Herald Tribune about Ringling’s plan to build a community center on town-owned land behind SunTrust Bank. She was also aware of the town’s larger plan for what it has dubbed a “Town Center” to be a walk-able center where Longboaters can pursue activities as well as shop and dine.

With the above information in mind, Hassel met with Town Manager Dave Bullock and Florensa and she requested a smoother and more sustainable transition.

Hassell suggested a five-year lease with a one-year termination clause executable by either party.  She felt that would give the Library minimally one year to prepare for any move and meanwhile if the Town Center project takes longer to manifest, the organization which has 700 members and 65 volunteers can thus continue to serve the public with its collection of fiction, non-fiction, audio books, movies, magazines and newspapers.

Florensa said the Town Manager and staff see no problem with the proposal and will bring the lease to the Commission for its consideration in March.

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