After several community meetings, the location of the new Riverview Library has still not been chosen.
There are several sites being examined: two potential sites on Mathog Road, one west of U.S 301 and the other south of the Alafia River; another on Balm-Riverview Road within walking distance of Riverview High School; and the final site, 7 acres on Hackney Drive, just east of U.S. 301 and north of the Alafia River.
The Hackney site is about eight miles from the current library at 10509 Riverview Drive. That library was built in 1981, and staff says there’s not enough space there to build what is needed to keep up with the area’s tremendous growth.
“Unfortunately, no site has yet been chosen,” said David Garcia, legislative aide to County Commissioner Stacy White. “Recently, the public showed its overwhelming support for the Hackney location, but the county has not acquired that property yet. In fact, final negotiations haven’t been made with any site that the county is looking at.”
Yet there is movement on the project, according to Project Manager for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library System, Janet Marnatti.
“The architectural firm Fleischman-Garcia has been chosen, and the intention is that the current structure and the land will be sold to help pay for the project,” Marnatti said.
She added that approximately 19 employees would be needed to staff the new library, many who are already in the library system.
The next public meeting will be about the design, but no date has been set at this time. Marnatti suggests anyone wishing to keep up with each step of the project should join Friends of the Riverview Library on Facebook.
With 230,000 new residents projected to move to Hillsborough County by 2020, and that number climbing to an expected 660,000 by 2040, much more space will be needed to carry out daily activities.
Besides this, there is a growing need for technology instruction space and equipment, spaces for public meetings and a children’s library.
At a cost of $7 million, which will come from the county’s “general fund,” the new library will be between 20,000-to-25,000-square-feet, as compared to the current Riverview Library, which is 8,000 square feet. The money was appropriated almost two years ago and earmarked specifically for this project. Library officials promise to hold more public meetings once the site has been chosen to see what residents want to have in their library and how they would like it to function.
Library officials say they hope so see a finished product by the end of 2018.