ZEPHYRHILLS — After almost a decade of discussion and planning, city officials and friends of the Zephyrhills Public Library gathered in the library parking lot Friday afternoon to break ground for the new 8,400 square-foot, $2.2 million library building.
Zephyrhills City Manager Jim Drumm led the ceremony that culminated in a ground-breaking with gold-painted shovels. The new library will be built in the current library’s parking lot.
City Councilman Charlie Proctor spoke about the difficulties that the new library plans faced, but said that the ground-breaking represented a promise made to the city more than 10 years ago.
“This building is going to be built to last,” Proctor said. “It’s going to be a monument to this great city.”
Questions arose over cost, location and the need for a new library building from the beginning. The most recent controversy developed in December when architects Harvard Jolly and Contractor A.D. Morgan told the Zephyrhills City Council in December that they would need about $500,000 more than budgeted to complete the new library building. The original estimate for the building was about $1.7 million, but representatives of the two companies told the council they would need about $2.2 million.
Council members expressed varying degrees of disappointment with the news, but unanimously granted the request to add funds from Penny For Pasco contingency monies.
On Monday, George Goodspeed, a representative from A.D. Morgan, said that the building should be completed by the end of the year and be ready for a grand opening in January. The final price for the building will be about $2,249,000. The current library will continue to operate until the new building is finished and then it will be demolished for a parking lot.