The Beachside Redevelopment Committee's final recommendations for improving the beachside down A1A from Ormond Beach to Daytona Beach Shores were well-received by the Volusia County Council at its meeting on Tuesday, May 15, with a majority of the council members expressing they will do what they can to ensure the committee's nine months of work doesn't fall to the wayside.
“All too often, all we hear is talk and not a lot of plan of action," District 4 Councilwoman Heather Post said. "This is a really pivotal time for Volusia and I think it’s very important that we don’t drop the ball.”
Tony Grippa, chair of the Beachside Redevelopment Committee, conducted the presentation before the council. He outlined the top priorities for redevelopment: Bettering East International Speedway Boulevard, improving Daytona Beach's Main Street corridor, redeveloping the land around the Ocean Center and investing in A1A.
“Our thought process is we all can agree as a committee, as diverse as we were, then hopefully the Volusia County Council and the affected cities will also be able to come together."
Tony Grippa, Beachside Redevelopment Committee chair
He also highlighted the policy improvements needed for redevelopment, which include enhanced code enforcement and policing, provisions of façade grants and keeping neighborhoods involved. Grippa also pointed out how the diversity of the committee, made up of city officials, neighborhood advocates, community activists and members of the business community, worked in their favor.
“Our thought process is we all can agree as a committee, as diverse as we were, then hopefully the Volusia County Council and the affected cities will also be able to come together," Grippa said.
Beachside Redevelopment Committee member Frank Molnar also spoke before the County Council, speaking to the potential ways to finance the projects. He pointed to other beachside communities, like New Smyrna Beach, that are thriving to use as an example.
“The time is now to come together as a community, as a county, as a city," Molnar said. "How can we work together to bring this into our crown jewel of our entire community?"
The County Council subsequently discharged the Beachside Redevelopment Committee with "great thanks and appreciation" for Grippa to freely work towards implementing changes and gaining collaboration within the cities without the threat of sunshine law violations.
Post said redevelopment in the beachside won't come from just one "sparkly project" but from collaboration and enforcement. District 2 Councilwoman Billie Wheeler said she has never felt this encouraged about improving the beachside.
“I am fighting with you on this," Wheeler said. "This is my district, and we do have a plan of action but I want to make sure it is not one of those plans of actions that goes on the shelf, and I can tell you I am 100% committed to doing whatever I need to do in collaborating with this group on getting things moving.”