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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 6 years ago

City Commission opposes sponsorship of for-profit marathon

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Also at the meeting, Commissioner Troy Kent continued his quest for more beach access.

BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER

The Ormond Beach City Commission at its meeting Tuesday rejected a request to sponsor the Tomoka Marathon planned for March 29. But commission members are open to new proposals.

Final Mile Race Management LLC, a for-profit company, is hosting the race in partnership with Halifax Health. Don Stoner, owner of the company, told the commission that $2,000 from the race's proceeds would benefit the Casements Guild. The remainder, after company expenses, would be provided to the Halifax Health Foundation to “improve medical care in the community.”

Plans call for the marathon to begin at The Casements and travel along the scenic Loop through Tomoka State Park. There would also be a half-marathon and a 5K race.

Stoner requested that the city waive all permitting fees and rental fees for The Casements, Fortunato Park and Rockefeller Gardens Park; furnish police support for traffic control and safety; and provide marketing assistance. The cost to the city was estimated at $8,150.

Commissioner Troy Kent said he loved the idea of a marathon, especially going through the Loop, but he had a problem spending tax money when the event is run by a for-profit company.

“We’re not budgeted for this,” he said. “We’re going to dip into our savings for a for-profit LLC? This is not a good way to spend tax money.”

Mayor Ed Kelley said the marathon would benefit the city by stimulating business.

“I never realized we would have to waive every fee and provide police,” he said. “I’d be willing to compromise.”

Commissioner Bill Partington said it was an exciting event, but using taxpayer money would be a problem.

“I’m inclined to charge what we charge normally,” he said. “I can’t justify this to taxpayers on what has been presented tonight.”

He said he might be willing to buy a sponsorship for a lesser amount.

The commission voted to table the resolution which allows the company to present a restructured proposal.

In the meeting's discussion period, Kent reiterated his desire for Ormond Beach to have additional access points to the beach.

“We need help from the county to open up our approaches,” he said.

Kent said that he can walk to the beach from his house, but those who drive must get to off-beach parking by 11 a.m. to find a space. The problem could be eased with more open approaches, he said.

At an previous workshop, he said he would give up his attempt to take back control of the beach if residents were given more access. He also said the closed beach ramps hurt business on State Road A1A.

There have been recent discussions between city and county officials about forming an advisory group to discuss problems and concerns. Commissioner James Stowers said he would recommend Kent as the representative from Ormond Beach.

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