Also, MainStreet board member speaks out about Cassen Park boat dock.
Enough is enough
A recent piece of election propaganda received via USPS states "With Bill as our Mayor, the proof is in the results." Well, I could not agree more. The City Commission blazed a trail of reckless abandon over the past four years. Results: 1) installation of palm trees (not native, and at the expense of cutting down good trees) — cost almost $1 million plus future maintenance costs; 2) Cassen Park boat dock — cost $1.25 million supposedly for the convenience of boaters who wish to dine and walk around downtown OB ; 3) destruction of wetlands at Granada Blvd. and Tomoka Avenue - cost: priceless; 4) construction of the eyesore known as Wawa on the same parcel - cost: ask the adjacent residents what it cost them in property values.
How can we forget the New Britain Avenue debacle when the Fab 5 did not listen to the pleas of the local citizens to disallow the multi-level building height since it was architecturally different from the norm in the neighborhood. Result: Developer wins; Citizens lose.
Again, the Highland and Dix Avenue neighbors banded together to disallow building of an apartment complex. Some adjustments were made to the developer's request, but nothing to benefit the locals. Result: Developer wins; citizens lose.
Another mailer states "I have worked hard...to implement planned development and smart growth policies...". Not quite Mr. Mayor. Everything has been done your way without taking into account the feelings of, and repercussions on, the citizens. I, and countless residents, have participated in commission meetings. We are given three minutes to speak. The developers are given 15-30 minutes and present rebuttal. The peanut gallery knows prior to being seated which way the pendulum swings. Furthermore, "smart growth" did not become part of your vocabulary until the term was introduced by members of CANDO2 over two years ago. Result: City Commission gets in the last word, every time voting in favor of developer buddies.
Are you ready for more? A slick arrives inserted in a recent Ormond Beach Observer called the "Budget Fact Sheet." The audacity of them referring to that "OB Life" fiasco ('You asked. We listened'.). Who did you ask - 600 attendees? How many residents in Ormond Beach - 40,000? How many of voting age - 20,000 - 25,000? Just more election time misleading propaganda and misuse of our tax dollars.
Ormond Beach cannot endure another 2 years of wastefulness and bullying under the control of the existing city commission!
We need a new clean slate
Simply put, we need new leadership in Ormond Beach and in Volusia County. The builders with their campaign funds and bulldozers control those in power and, essentially, control us. This is the first "Letter to the Editor" I have ever submitted. I would like it to be my last. I have done my homework. I hope those of you reading this have done yours.
My recommendations to get "we the people" represented and back in control of the way our lives are affected, I am suggesting that you vote for the following individuals for a new, and clean, slate:
City of Ormond Beach:
- Rob Bridger — For mayor
- Tim Grigsby — For Zone 1 Commissioner
- Ken Smith — For Zone 2 Commissioner
- David Romeo — For Zone 4 Commissioner
- Jeff Brower — For County Council Chair
- Heather Post — For County Council District 4 Representative
By all means vote. It is your right to express yourself by selecting those individuals you want to represent you over the next few years. Make Ormond Beach and Volusia County green again!
In response to "Boat Dock was a waste of money"
I strongly believe that the city made a wise investment in Cassen Park. Unlike other local cities, Ormond Beach has never been able to invite local boaters to stop, shop, dine and play in our beautiful downtown. These are visitors that will help our small businesses without adding a single car to the traffic on Granada Boulevard.
The new floating dock represents much more than dockage for 12 boats. Twelve boats are not permanently moored there. Boats come and go at all times of the day as folks come and use our downtown. Because of COVID-19, the city has not yet promoted the use of the docks to the public since its completion. No ribbon cutting or advertising has been done. Once COVID-19 is in our rearview mirror, and the boating public is made aware of its existence, I am sure many of the 40,000 registered boats in Volusia County will be tying up at our docks and enjoying our downtown. I do not believe anyone can argue that a thriving downtown isn't important to the vitality of our entire community.
Also to set the record straight, a grant from the Florida Inland Navigation District of $200,000 helped defray some of the costs of the dock. The rest of the money used for the waterfront project came from CRA funds. A CRA is a special taxing district. A small portion of property taxes from the specific downtown area where the docks are located are returned annually to the city by Volusia County. These dollars can only be used in the CRA district, and are not able to be used on projects in other parts of the city.
Additionally, a large chunk of the expense was related to extending the original design for a breakwater. The longer breakwater helps protect not only the floating docks but also the hundreds of feet of fixed fishing docks, boat and kayak launches around the bridge area. Repairs to that area after Hurricane Irma cost more than $750,000. The breakwater protects that investment.
It is hard to believe that a beautiful community like ours with a great river flowing through its center has taken so long to develop a plan that will allow thousands of boaters access to all our downtown has to offer. The dock at Cassen Park is a first-class facility that will be bringing vitality to our downtown for years to come.
Member of Ormond Beach Mainstreet board of directors