The Beachside Redevelopment committee has many ideas on how to improve the beachside. Now, how do they fund those ideas?
Volusia County's beachside redevelopment committee, which examines way to improve the seaside peninsula from Ormond Beach to Daytona Beach Shores, is not the first of its kind in Florida, said Committee Chair Tony Grippa at the meeting on Monday, Nov. 13, citing communities like Destin, Panama City and Jacksonville Beach whose redevelopment efforts were ultimately funded — the committee is just trying to figure out how.
“We all have ideas of what we’d like to see down there," Grippa said. We’re going to get more ideas and good ideas from the public and already have. Now how are we going to pay for it?”
Funding was the topic of the night as the committee listened to a presentation by Arlene Smith of Volusia County's Legislative Affairs. She informed the members that the House and Senate leaders are focusing their attentions on projects to benefit education and hurricane restoration. Smith said Gov. Rick Scott is likely to veto any projects not related to hurricane restoration in the upcoming legislative sessions.
“There’s just not much money to work with,” Smith said.
However, there is still a chance for Volusia County to get funds to start improving the beachside.
“If we had something that was ‘shovel-ready’ and you’re ready to cut a ribbon in front of it, then that’s the kind of project that they really like," Smith said.
All three cities — Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach and Daytona Beach Shores — along with the business representatives and community leaders on the committee would have to decide on one single project to kickstart the redevelopment on the beachside.
“If we hunt together we will have different success, and I truly believe that,” said committee member Rodney Cruise, who is the senior vice president for administration and planning at Embry-Riddle.
Deciding on the project that will go to legislature is something that they will look into in the next two meetings of the committee, which will be its last. As for the rest of their recommendations, Grippa asked Director Clay Ervin to look to how other cities have funded their beachside redevelopment projects, whether it be through general appropriation, CRA's, grants or other programs.
“We might, if we’re not careful, be the first city who looks to our taxpayers, which I don’t think it’s fair," Grippa said. I think we have to look at other broader programs that are out there.”