James Johnson, Jr., Chair
900 North Ashley Drive
Tampa, Florida 33602
James Martin, Jr., Vice-Chair
William Scheuerle, Secretary
Phone: (813) 273-3660
Fax: (813) 273-3707

Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library Board



Library Staff:
Joe Stines, Director
David Wullschleger, Chief of Operations

Suzy George, Facilities Officer
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant

Linda Gillon, Manager of Staff & Administrative Support

Special Guests:
Mike Kelly, Director of Real Estate,
Don Harwig, Director of Facilities Maintenance,
Charlie Prather, Sr. Land Agent,
Vivian Salaga, Architect.


Chairman Linda Arnold called the meeting to order at 4:00pm


Roll Call was conducted by Rosa Goldsmith, Secretary of the Library Board.

Library Board Members Present:
Kay O'Rourke, Chairman
Linda Arnold, Vice Chairman
Nancy Crippen, Dora Reeder
Josie Gracia, Cathy Bartolotti
Helen Swisshelm, Elizabeth Blue
Fred Hearns
Library Board Excused:
Sandra Cameron
Gloria Abrams

Library Board Absent:
Arnold Kotler


As there were no corrections or additions, the minutes from the July 23rd meeting were accepted as written.


Mike Kelly, Director of Hillsborough County's Real Estate Department reviewed sites under consideration for the new Northwest Regional Library: 1) Lake Park and 2) Carrollwood Springs (Lowe's property) on Country Way Blvd. He explained that acquisition of the Lowe's site depended upon re-zoning. Since the request for re-zoning has been withdrawn, the site is no longer a viable option.

The citizens who attended the public meeting in mid-June indicated that they did not favor the Lake Park site. In light of this, Mike said he would need a decision from the Library Board regarding whether or not to continue with negotiations for this property.

Mike also brought up the issue of funding. He said the Real Estate Department looked initially for donated properties and sites already owned by the County. The County Administrator has recommended that $600,000 for site acquisition be included in the budget. If the budget is approved, the funds would be available Oct. 1.

Helen Swisshelm asked where the money would come from. Joe Stines responded that he had verbal confirmation from the State Library that a $400,000 State grant awarded to the library can be applied to land acquisition. The other $200,000 would come out of Library Taxing District funds. Helen also asked if the purchase would affect some other line item in the Library's budget. Joe said "no--but it will reduce the amount put into reserve."

Mike went on to say that the Lake Park site is located west of Dale Mabry, approximately two miles north of the existing facility. The site is within a large tract of land owned by the City of St. Petersburg. Hillsborough County is presently negotiating with St. Petersburg to acquire the land for the ELAPP Program; however, there is sufficient land to accommodate a library as well.

Nancy Crippen commented that the Lake Park site flooded during the recent rains. Mike said several people at the public siting meeting raised this objection. He said another issue is that the West Coast Regional Water Supply has water rights over the property for a period of 10 years. Water rights would also have to be negotiated. Mike commented again that this site was not very popular with the public. Joe Stines agreed and said the Lake Park site is two miles beyond where Carrollwood customers already have to drive for library service. He agreed with Elizabeth Blue that this location would be far removed from the center of the current service area.

Helen asked if the owner of the Carrollwood Springs site would be willing to sell part of the land to the County. Mike said he didn't know. She also asked if they could be approached. Mike responded that the possibility could be investigated now that the re-zoning process is not an issue. However, the opportunity for donated land appears to be gone.

Helen commented that $600,000 is not much money for land. Charlie Prather agreed and added that it would be difficult to approach the owners of the Carrollwood Springs site without sufficient funding available. Helen also asked if $600,000 would be enough to purchase the Lake Park site. Mike Kelly said "yes--easily."

When asked if any other County departments could use the site, Mike responded that the Fire Department is also looking at it. He said there would be room for a fire station and library on the same site.

Helen Swisshelm asked about the time frame for the land acquisition. Joe Stines responded that the land needs to be in place by the end of 1998. He suggested that the boundaries may need to be broadened in order to increase the number options.

Helen suggested not eliminating Lake Park as a possibility as it may be the only option available. Mike said his department would continue to search for other privately owned sites and put Lake Park on the back burner for the time being. He offered to update the Library Board again in November.

Don Harwig, Director of Facilities Maintenance - Don asked the Library Board if they had questions about the status of the current Northwest Regional Library. He commented that the building is stable and humidity levels are being kept down. Fan systems have been installed, the front entry doors have been modified and most areas of the building have been sealed. The roll-up door in the back will be closed and the air-conditioning system will be retrofitted. The building is being monitored on a continuing basis.

Vivian Salaga, Architect - Mrs. Salaga approached the Library Board with a request to site a library in the Tampa Heights area. She said she and her husband have purchased an old church located at the corner of Central Ave. and Ross. Currently, they are looking for tenants. The building is 42,000 sq. ft. and has the original stained glass windows.

When asked to locate the church on a map, Mrs. Salaga indicated that the site is located near the areas of West Tampa, Ybor and Seminole Heights. Helen Swisshelm asked if it would serve as a replacement for the West Tampa facility. Joe Stines and Dora Reeder commented that the site is outside West Tampa's service district. Dora also noted that the location is not very far from the Seminole Heights Library. Vivian said it is 3 miles from Seminole at the most.

Mrs. Salaga described the building in detail. Helen Swisshelm asked if she was proposing that the entire building be used as a library. Vivian responded that they were thinking of using the first floor (the 7,000-8,000 sq. feet included in the sanctuary and overflow area).

Fred Hearns asked about parking. He said he attended the church and was aware that people had to park to the west of it. Vivian said she and her husband own the lot to the west and several lots to the north. She acknowledged that on-site parking would not be sufficient but felt strongly that parking would not be an issue.

Fred noted that the Ybor Branch Library is only one mile away from the site. Mrs. Salaga said she didn't think it would affect Ybor as people in Tampa Heights are reluctant to go under the expressway to use the Ybor facility. Joe Stines commented that this situation is a classic example of a barrier to a service area. Pockets of the population remain unserved because of a structure or highway, etc. He said he understood the problem but would have a hard time justifying siting four or five libraries within a three-mile radius. Mrs. Salaga said she understood that but wanted to pursue the idea for the sake of the Tampa Heights residents who support the idea.

Dora Reeder said she had several friends who attended the church and moved out because the structure was in such poor condition. Parking was also a problem. She said they endured the neighborhood itself but couldn't stay when the building deteriorated. Vivian commented that it will take approximately $1.4 million to restore the building. Several grants have been applied for.

Linda Arnold thanked Mrs. Salaga for her presentation and invited her to come back with more information after the Tampa Heights Civic Association meeting.


Nominating Committee:

Since Arnold Kotler said he felt unable to serve as Secretary, Linda Arnold asked for nominations from the floor. Dora Reeder was asked to serve. She graciously accepted.

Planning Committee:

As Sandra Cameron was absent, Linda Arnold asked Joe Stines to give the Planning Committee report. Joe said the following issues were addressed at the meeting held prior to the Library Board meeting.

Letter to Commissioner Turanchik - On August 11, 1998, Commissioner Turanchik requested that the Library Board provide a list of top priorities for the next round of CIT (Community Investment Tax) funding. Linda Arnold prepared a letter to convey this information. The following priorities were listed:

  1. South County Regional Library
  2. North Tampa Library expansion/renovation
  3. West Gate Regional Library expansion/renovation
  4. Lutz Branch Library expansion/renovation
  5. Southeast County Regional Library

Helen Swisshelm questioned why Southeast County Regional was put on the list when funding is scheduled for 10 years out. Linda Arnold explained that it was added in the event that funding might be available sooner. She stressed that the BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) and citizens should be aware of the growing needs in this part of the county. Joe Stines agreed and said no one could be certain what the BOCC's priorities would be. He agreed with Linda that SE County Regional should be on the list but said the order of priorities could be re-arranged by the Library Board.

Joe explained that the Commissioners also need to be aware that there are other projects on the Library's Unmet Needs List--facilities for Bealsville and Cork, for example.

Fred Hearns asked where renovation of John F. Germany Public Librarywould fall in the list of priorities. Joe said it is on the Unmet Needs List.

Joe said the BOCC would discuss CIT funding at two workshops--October 14, 1:30-4:00 and November 12, 1:30-3:00. The list of projects for the next round of CIT funding should be approved at the latter. While the public is welcome to attend, no public comment may not be taken at these meetings.


Elizabeth Blue made a motion to accept the letter to Commissioner Turanchik as written, with the addition of one prepositional phrase for clarification. Dora Reeder seconded the motion.

      - The motion passed 8-0.

Long-Range Plan: Joe explained that it is time to begin work on the new Long-Range Plan for years 2000-2005. He explained that it must be approved by the BOCC in July and submitted to the State Library by Oct. 1, 1999. The Planning Committee approved of the list of individuals who have been asked to serve on a Long-Range Planning Task Force on the condition that more people representing ethnic minorities and ages 16-24 be recruited.

Joe said the task force would only revise the library's mission statement. The intent is to update and re-engineer the 1996-2000 plan.

Joe asked for the review and approval of the full Board.

The Library Board reviewed and discussed the list.


Nancy Crippen made a motion to accept the list of individuals on the Long-Range Planning Task Force as amended by the Planning Committee on 8/27/98. The motion was seconded by Elizabeth Blue.

      - The motion passed 8-0.

Joe announced that the kick-off date will be September 22, 1998, 9-10 a.m. in the Library Boardroom.

Planning Committee Project Assignments: Joe reviewed the list of Planning Committee projects and assignments. He noted that the list of projects for the coming year is very long and encouraged all Library Board members to work on projects they are interested in.

Budget Committee:

Helen Swisshelm said there would be nothing new to report until the BOCC approves the budget. Joe Stines announced that the final public hearings on the budget would take place September 3 and September 17, 6:00 in the BOCC Chambers. He commented that the budget is a very positive one for the library system. The book budget will increase by $200,000 and several line items were increased by 5% to allow for inflation.

Public Art:

Dora Reeder said she met with people from Port Tampa on July 30. Susan B. Gott, the glass artist selected to do the project, met with them. Dora said people were very enthusiastic about her ideas. She will imbed various images in the glass benches--designs of old churches in the area, seagulls, blue crabs, birds, and other items related to mariners. The date for installation has not been determined.


Maintenance Projects Analysis: Joe said staff members are still working on the analysis requested by Helen Swisshelm. He said he would share the information as soon as it can be compiled.

Signs: 78th St.'s sign is in purchasing and should be installed in September. Ybor's sign is installed.

Grants: Joe said he had just gotten word that THPL was awarded all five LSTA grants that were applied for. The Library Board agreed that Jackie Zebos, writer of the grants, should be commended.

Videos: Joe showed three short videos prepared by the Public Relations and Partnerships section and said one had won a state PR award. The Library Board was very favorably impressed.


Helen Swisshelm made a motion to commend Jackie Zebos and Patrice Koerper for their excellent work by way of a letter signed by the Library Board Chairman. It was seconded by Dora Reeder.

      - The motion passed 8-0.


September Library Board Meeting: Joe announced that he needed vacation time in late September and asked the Library Board to approve his absence during the Sept. Library Board meeting. He said Linda Gillon would fill in as acting Director. The Library Board approved. The meeting will be held in Temple Terrace.

ByLaws Committee: Nancy Crippen said the ByLaws Committee would need to meet in the near future. The date will be announced.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:05pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: September 24, 1998
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: Temple Terrace Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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