Can City Hall be a Library?

If a feasibility shows it as a “worthwhile step,” as acting city manager Elaine Edmunds told the St. Pete Beach Commission Tuesday night, city hall could move to the empty police station and the library could move into city hall.

According to Library Administrator Phyllis Ruscella, the current city hall building could work as a new library if structural engineers determined the building has the appropriate construction, including load-bearing floors.

The city hall building, Ruscella said, meets FEMA regulations, which the current library does not meet and need not meet unless the city renovates the building by more than 50 percent. Additionally, the current city hall comes more into compliance with ADA requirements than the current library.

Premer suggested using Harvard Jolly, of which former mayor Ward Friszolowski is vice president. Harvard Jolly offered to look at city hall for free. Mayor Maria Lowe expressed concerns about the “perception of impropriety”; the commission opted to proceed with a feasibility study but the mayor assured residents the commission would only fact find at this juncture.

“This community deserves a new library,” she said. “Where it’s located is not necessarily a huge issue.”

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