Fort Pierce library reopens its doors

By Dawn Krebs

FORT PIERCE – The renovation took a year to complete, but residents using the Zora Neale Hurston Branch Library have been waiting for the day the remodeled library opened its doors a lot longer than that.

But under a clear sky, the doors did open, to a new 5,000-square-foot expansion of the older space.

Officials gathered at the building, named after Fort Pierce resident Zora Neale Hurston.

“This is a great day,” said St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Craft.

He was playing in the Fort Pierce Westwood High School band in 1999 when the ribbon was first cut on the building. From that day, the plan was always to increase the space.

“Celebrate is a Zora word,” said Susan Jacob, library manager. “That’s what we’re here for today.”

The renovation cost $1.1 million, and was paid for from impact fees.

In addition, the Friends of the St. Lucie Library donated money to completely furnish the inside of the library and pay for additional library staff.

Inside, there is a separate computer room, children’s room and community center.

Along the walls, eight Zora paintings, commissioned by the St. Lucie County Bureau of Cultural Affairs in 2006, depict the celebrated author at different times of her life. The painter, Ade Rossman, was on hand to answer questions and speak about his paintings to the crowd who walked through the building after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The renovation marks the first major construction to any library building in the county since 1991.

“This branch was always planned to be twice the size,” said Ms. Jacobs. “It’s a promise fulfilled to this neighborhood, and I’m so proud to have been part of the process.”

The library is located on Avenue D in Fort Pierce. The library will be open two days a week, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

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