TAVARES — Lake County is a 2008 recipient of the American City & County Crown Community Award for the construction of Cagan Crossings Community Library, located at 16729 Cagan Oaks, Clermont, in the unincorporated community of Four Corners.
The award recognizes the leadership and creativity from local governments — especially when budgets are stretched — that have lasting effects on residents, businesses and the environment. Every year, American City & County magazine editors ask subscribers, city and county leaders and associations to nominate projects completed by cities and counties. The 10 recipients of 2008 Crown Community Awards are Bellflower, Calif.; Chandler, Ariz.; Forest City, N.C.; Gila County, Ariz.; Lake County, Fla.; Miami Gardens, Fla.; Monrovia, Calif.; Pittsburg; Tampa; and Virginia Beach, Va.
According to an e-mail from Bill Wolpin, Executive Director of American City & County, “This prestigious honor shows that your jurisdiction exemplifies the best that local governments have to offer.” A summary of each winning project will appear in the December issue of the magazine.
Cagan Crossings Community Library, which officially opened to the public on Feb. 11, 2008, represents a community-support project that came to fruition through the coordinated efforts and significant contributions of the community, numerous governmental entities and private contractors. The project was conceptually initiated in 2002 and construction started in October 2006.
Construction contributions included a $500,000 Florida Public Library Construction Grant, a $198,000 U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Economic Development Initiative Grant and Cagan Crossings Ltd. pledging $302,000 for exterior improvements and discounting the property purchase price. The project was completed on time, under budget and in substantial compliance with green-building standards. In addition, the neighboring counties of Osceola and Polk are providing financial support for ongoing operations at the library.
“Meetings between the contractor and County based on the principles of Value Engineering resulted in a reduction of $947,000 from the initial bid value,” said Barnett Schwartzman, Director of the Lake County Office of Procurement Services. “This cooperative effort enabled the project to proceed, and set the tone for the extremely successful construction phase of the project.”
The new library, which replaced the smaller Citrus Ridge library, is proving to be a valuable asset for the community. Usage statistics comparing March 2007 to March 2008 show circulation is up 65 percent, borrower registration is up 287 percent and Internet usage is up 57 percent.
For more information about the library, call (352) 243-1840 or log on to www.mylakelibrary.org.