An Open Letter to Our Community

Dear Friends,

These are extraordinary times at the Winter Park Public Library! We are excited to partner with the City of Winter Park to realize the world-class library and event center our community both needs and deserves. We are grateful for the community’s support and for our voters’ directive in March when they approved funding for the construction of a new library-events center.

You might know that there are some who are attempting to stop construction of the library-events center. You may have also heard that they have filed a lawsuit to accomplish their goal. Out of respect for the legal process, we have refrained from public discourse on this legal action.  However, we can no longer sit silent as a few opponents spread misinformation and display disregard for the will of the voters. It is painful to witness the sowing of division in our community and the waste of our City’s resources and your tax dollars on unnecessary legal battles.

Facts you should know:

The intended location of the new library-events center (at the corner of Morse Boulevard and Harper Street on the site of the current civic center, adjacent to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park) was identified - clearly and openly - for months before the vote.

  • Many outlets including Orlando Sentinel, The Park Press, The Winter Park-Maitland Observer, Orlando Weekly, Winter Park Voice, Fox 35, multiple Facebook pages, the WPPL website, the City’s website and materials sent directly to Winter Park residents extensively reported the park location.
  • The Winter Park City Commission decisively voted in favor of the park location and unanimously approved the referendum language that appeared on the ballot.
  • Opponents of the new library aggressively campaigned against the site, explicitly naming the MLK Park-adjacent site in their own materials, at public presentations and via social media.
  • The description of the project in the ordinance voters approved at the polls specified the “demolition and removal of the existing civic center” as part of the project.

Efforts to halt construction of the library in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park ARE actions against the new library.  They are also significant in that they are an attempt to overturn the results of an election by eliminating the only viable site for the library-events center project – and the site voters were promised in the months leading up to the vote.

  • The referendum was clear and specific: we must build a library-events center that shares spaces and related parking. There is no other location in the City that works for this project.
  • A citizen task force spent a year looking into the issue and reviewed more than a dozen possible locations, only to find the park-adjacent site as the only viable choice for this project.

What we need from you:

Stay informed! We are launching a new e-newsletter to provide regular updates on the progress of the new library. Make sure you are on the mailing list by reply to this email with the word “subscribe.”

Remind our community leaders that you support the new library-event center by sending an email to mayorandcommissioners@cityofwinterpark.org.

For 131 years, the WPPL has faithfully served this community.  As Library Trustees, we are caretakers of this legacy left by Winter Park’s earliest residents, a place that encourages learning, imagination and dreams. We’re now looking toward the future and are committed to helping build a facility that will empower new generations of Winter Parkers to learn, imagine and dream in the 21st century. We welcome and encourage your support!  Join us today.

Sincerely,

The Board of Trustees of the Winter Park Public Library