The Lake County Library System and City of Fruitland Park hosted a grand opening ceremony for the Fruitland Park Library on Friday, July 19, 2019.
The free event was open to the public, and included a ribbon cutting, presentations, refreshments and live music. The first 500 patrons also received an exclusive library card featuring a picture of the new library.
The 12,000 square-foot, one-story facility is a significant upgrade from the former 7,000 square-foot space, allowing for a larger selection of books and media, and more room to host programs and events. The library’s new eatery, the Gardenia Café, also serves breakfast and lunch with daily specials.
Visitors feel at home with its coastal theme, featuring a large wraparound porch and outdoor rocking chairs. The new building also pays homage to the city’s past by incorporating original oak floors and windows from the old Casino Community Building. Its two community rooms, the Palm Villa and the Hillcrest, are named after historic homes dating back to the 1800s. Another historical treat is the large windmill outside the library -- an original to the city, the windmill operated from 1915 to the 1950s.
The library’s outdoor garden is named after the late Virgil Bell, father of Fruitland Park City Commissioner Christopher Bell and grandfather-in-law of Lake County Commissioner Josh Blake. His original artwork of local, historic homes are displayed in the front foyer, celebrating his legacy.
The Fruitland Park Library began in 1916 and was incorporated in 1966. It became part of the Lake County Library System in 1997. Construction for the new Fruitland Park Library began in March 2018. The City of Fruitland Park will convert the old library into a community center.