MANATEE — It’s official: Manatee County has purchased the Roaring 20s Pizza and Pipes building to house a new library for residents of Parrish.
For no more than the county currently pays to rent a small storefront library space, the county bought the 10,000-square-foot building — more than double the size of the current library housed in a strip mall next door.
The new library will have room for meeting space, a children’s story time area, offices and even a coffee bar. It also offers 170 parking spaces and comes with nearly 10 acres.
“The purchase of the land is definitely a go,” said Carol Whitmore, chairwoman of the county commission. The purchase price is $700,000. The county also plans to do almost $300,000 in renovations. County Administrator Ed Hunzeker has said that the county can pay off the building and the renovations over 20 years using the $80,000 a year it spends to lease the space for the current Rocky Bluff library.
Parrish residents have been asking for a new library for several years. The current Rocky Bluff branch is the smallest of the county’s six libraries but still attracts 102,500 visitors a year.
County workers had been searching for property for several years and had even looked at the Roaring 20s building before it went into foreclosure, but it was too expensive back then. Once the county takes possession of the property, it will have to renovate the building, which has been vandalized while it has been sitting empty.
The pipe organ was moved out of the building before it went into foreclosure, but the bar still exists, making it easy to create a coffee bar in the library.
When folks in Parrish found out that the county was negotiating to buy the building for a new library, “they were excited that this opportunity came about,” Whitmore said. “With their utilization, they need it.”