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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 5 years ago

Businesses, city pledge funds to improve North U.S. 1

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by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor

Nine medians will be landscaped

When Peggy Farmer was executive director of the Ormond Beach Chamber of Commerce, she would talk to people at the Visitors Center who had entered the city on West Granada Boulevard. They would often mention the nice looking medians.

“They would say they can tell what kind of community we are by our beautification efforts,” she said.

That’s why she believes the agreement between the city, county and local businesses to begin improving the medians along North U.S. 1, another important gateway to the city, is important. The North U.S. 1 Coalition, a business group, and the city have each pledged $20,000, and the county will consider contributing $20,000 at an upcoming meeting.

“It’s going to benefit Ormond Beach so much,” she said.

Farmer is the leader of the coalition, a group of about 30 businesses and individuals dedicated to the improvement of the corridor.

Late last year, the coalition decided to take the lead and show that the business community is serious about beautifying the gateway by contributing money toward the project, Farmer said.

At a meeting, members began to pledge money. By the end of the meeting they had $18,000 and $2,000 was donated later.

“It was remarkable how generous the members were,” she said. “We decided that was enough to go to the city,”

Farmer said she’s confident the County Council will agree to contribute.

“They seem supportive,” she said. “We’re hopeful. We’re not asking for a large amount.”

She pointed out that if a visitor on I-95 uses GPS for guidance to the Ocean Center, a facility important to the county, it will direct them to get off at U.S. 1.

The $60,000 will be used to landscape nine medians, from the freeway south to Broadway Avenue.

After the commission approved the agreement, Commissioner Rick Boehm said it was a good example of a public-private partnership.

“This beautification project is badly needed,” he said.

Mayor Ed Kelley said people will see a big difference in the area in the future.

The City has received notification that it has been approved to receive a $500,000 FDOT grant for landscaping the U.S. 1 medians, but the funds will not be available until the fall of 2015. The money will be used to continue median beautification south of the nine medians in the current project. Also, Kelley said the city may have a grant by 2020 to landscape the I-95 interchange at U.S. 1.

Farmer said when the coalition pledged the $20,000, they didn’t know if the grant would be approved, and felt it was important to take the lead.

In accordance with the agreement, the city will be responsible for construction of the project, and will maintain the landscaping after completion. The money has been budgeted.

Farmer said the business coalition was formed in 2010, after the Cheaters nightclub was built on North U.S. 1 near I-95.

“We decided we needed to start paying attention,” she said.

She said the coalition is going to stay active. There are plans to meet with businesses along the corridor about other beautification efforts. They also want to meet with FDOT to discuss sidewalks, and hope to work with the city to develop a master plan for the area.

“The medians are a good start but there’s a lot we can do,” she said.

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