Should the city replace the grass in the medians? Does the city need more parking in the downtown?
Granada median landscaping
At the June 1 Ormond Beach City Commission meeting, Commissioner Kent suggested replacing the Granada median’s grass with perennial peanut or Asiatic jasmine. Good suggestions. I prefer clover or sunshine mimosa (Cool name. Sounds like something to order for brunch).
Florida native plant like Coreopsis (Florida’s state flower, also called tickseed) would be great as well. I think there is a safety issue to workers standing in the medians so close to the street as well. The sprinkler systems could have far less demand which adds to costs. Grass simply costs too much to maintain. I believe it was Commissioner Selby who brought up the rising cost of road repaving. We can mitigate those rise in costs for maintaining the roads by reducing the cost of the median landscaping.
Paving over Ormond
In 2018, Ormond Beach bought the Riverside Church property for $729,000 for use as a civic center. In January of 2020, we were told the building was not in great shape and we had three choices: Tear down and build new, rehab the building or tear it down and use the lot for parking. Now all of a sudden, we are told in May of 2021 it has become urgent to destroy a midcentury modern building because of a leaking roof, mold and mildew.
Why were we not taking care of this building as soon as the city bought it? Why did we allow it to sit for two years before we worried about its condition? Now that we finally are just starting to meet again, (post-COVID) why can’t they wait six months to allow a citizen-based committee formed with elected officials, engineers, etc. and discuss what we want on our riverfront?
The building sits on a gorgeous piece of property along the river and already has a paved parking lot attached to it (25 spaces). All around this country, these older buildings and churches are being repurposed into multi-use venues, art hubs, office space, classrooms, small music venues, weddings venues, cooking classes, meeting rooms etc. for use by its citizens. People want to save these old buildings for their history, the memories and the different architecture styles through the years, along with tourism — which in turn is good for the area economy. Plus, it is also good for our environment to repurpose what we have.
But, we are told we need more parking in the downtown area. We don't. We need better signs directing people where to park. We have about 500 public spaces in our core downtown, most sit empty on any night of the week. Let’s use the parking we have first, let’s make sure all public spaces are filled before we lay anymore asphalt or shell or tear down a midcentury modern building on our riverfront for a million-dollar parking lot. Can’t we at least have six months to try and save part of our history? Since when is our history not worth trying to save?
Do not pave over paradise
Once again the selfish interests of a developer are threatening a property worth conserving.
Said developer, in need of more parking for his restaurants in downtown Ormond Beach on Granada, has convinced the majority of our commissioners to tear down a midcentury modern building worthy of preservation and cover the ground with asphalt in its place. He needs the parking lot — Ormond Beach citizens do not.
He has claimed his goal is to turn Ormond into a mecca for tourists —with asphalt?
There are many other potential uses for this building and property. Persis, Kent — please re-evaluate your idea that a parking lot "is a good use on this beautiful street."
Ormond citizens should be asking — why is this being pushed through by our City Commissioners?
Letters up to 400 words can be submitted for publication by emailing [email protected]. Editor may edit for clarity and length.
This post was updated at 3:36 p.m. to add a letter by Karen Diedo.