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Site selected for North Fort Myers library

By Staff | Sep 15, 2015

When the new North Fort Myers Regional Library opens in the next couple years, patrons will have to do is go to the old location and walk a little.

Linda Yorde announced at the North Fort Myers Civic Association meeting last week that the new library will be located just to the south of the current one on Old 41.

The Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday was expected to approve two measures on the consent agenda a purchase agreement for two 1.19-acre parcels (at 1949 and 1985 N. Tamiami Trail) next to the current library at 2001 N. Tamiami Trail.

“It’s what the community has asked for. That property has been our first choice all along. We’re delighted we’re this far along in the process and they’ve been able to negotiate a reasonable price,” said Linda Yorde, president of the Friends of the North Fort Myers Library.

The land will be used to construct a 25,000-square-foot library near the site of the present library, which is only about one-third the size of the proposed one, and to accommodate parking, which the current library has little of.

“I’m really excited that we got our first choice. I think there’s tremendous opportunity when you look at having a library close to the rec center and the athletic fields,” Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman said. “You’ve created a community hub there.”

The 1949 property is owned by Chandler and Shirley Lucas, who have 55 percent interest. and Frank P. and Jeanne Bergelin Murphy, who have the remaining interest.

The 1985 property is owned by Frederick T. Price and his wife, Lourdes. The appraised value of both properties is $91,000.

The parcels, which were owned by two different owners, will cost $125,000 apiece, with $6,000 added to both properties in closing costs.

This purchase agreement is contingent upon the parcel being re-zoned from agricultural to community redevelopment and the ability of the county to purchase both parcels. The re-zoning time frame is estimated to take between six and nine months to complete.

$1 million has already been allocated in this year’s budget for the library. Nearly $6 million will be allocated each of the next two fiscal years, for a total of $12,973,126.

Those properties were considered the better of the two choices when sites for the new library were determined. The alternative site was to be on North Cleveland Avenue at the site of the future bus terminal near the Shell Factory.

Now, it’s a matter of time, Yorde said.

“We ask the community to bear with us as we go through the process. We’re one step closer,” Yorde said.

“The plan is to get this library completed within five years. Two or three is best case scenario, but I don’t want to overpromise,” Hamman said. “We’re excited we can bring a good-quality library to the area.”