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Town lays out expectations of county library project

The county is funding the project and deems design, planning and operations as its responsibility.

The Town Center Green is in phase two of construction, which includes a privately funded stage.
The Town Center Green is in phase two of construction, which includes a privately funded stage.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer
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The town of Longboat Key is putting in writing what it considers important in its relationship with Sarasota County as the two governments move forward with plans for the Town Center library project. 

Over the past few years, the town has been advocating for a community center and library to be a focal point for the development of the Town Center Green. During the town’s joint meeting with the Sarasota County Commission on April 27, 2022, the town requested the County Commission consider monetarily supporting the construction of the library. 

The county ended up setting aside $1 million of its fiscal year 2023 budget to advance the planning and design of the proposal. 

Former Town Manager Tom Harmer worked with county administration to develop a principles of agreement document. The document outlines general responsibilities for the county and town regarding a land lease, design, construction, operations and maintenance, programming and funding of the project. 

The County Commission reviewed the document and voted in support of the continued partnership Tuesday. 

“We look forward to collaborating with the Town of Longboat Key to provide this much-wanted amenity in a way that complements the town’s vision for their Town Center Green project,” said Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis said in a press release. “Our state-of-the-art library facilities and services will integrate seamlessly with the Town of Longboat Key’s vision to provide arts, cultural, and educational programming.”

Sarasota County has indicated that because the library would be a county facility, it would take the responsibility of design, construction, operation and maintenance of the facility. 

As it stands, the library is planned to include the core library circulation component, reading and meeting rooms and a large multipurpose space. 

Under the agreement, the town would have the ability to weigh in on elements they would like to see included. All planning and design phases would go through review of the town as well. 

For starters, the county is anticipating entering into a 50-year land lease. Such a lease would require approval of a formal agreement by the Town Commission. 



Lauren Tronstad

Lauren Tronstad is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2021. Before moving to Florida, she worked for the Columbia Daily Tribune.

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