Controversy continues over new Winter Park library construction

WINTER PARK, Fla. — The story of Winter Park’s new library continues to be bookmarked with controversy.

Even with construction of the new facility at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the horizon, at least one resident opposed to the project continues to try to shut it down.

The city's existing civic center is scheduled to be knocked down to make way for the project early next year.

Former Winter Park City Commissioner Peter Gottfried is behind new ads urging commissioners to “cancel the project.”

One of his concerns is for green space at the park. The current plan calls for 63 oak trees to come down.

Gottfried said he’d prefer the existing library be renovated instead.

But library staff says it’s time for a change.

"We're capped in some of our spaces now and we're turning people away," said Sabrina Bernat, assistant director of the Winter Park Public Library.

She said the current location, built in the 70s, is filled with challenges from cramped floors to a lack of technology.

"What we're having to do now is say, ‘Bring your own laptop or computer because we don't have computers to teach you,’" Bernat said.

Voters in Winter Park approved financing the new multi-million-dollar facility in March 2016.

In a statement, Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary said the “coordinated, misleading attacks” on the project will not stop the city from fulfilling its responsibility to build the new library.