The runners will tour the Loop and Tomoka State Park.
BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER
City Commissioners agreed Tuesday that the city will sponsor the Tomoka Marathon set for March 29. The race will start and end at The Casements and travel through the scenic Loop and Tomoka State Park. There will also be a half marathon and a 5K race.
Commissioners had tabled a proposal Feb. 4 to give organizers a chance to revise it, saying they were not comfortable with the city’s obligation. On Tuesday, Commissioner Troy Kent was the only commissioner who opposed the new proposal, saying waiving fees for a for-profit company event was a “slippery slope.”
Donald Stoner of Final Mile Race Management LLC, which will manage the race, said in a press release that the flat, fast course through a scenic area will attract runners from around the countr, and he expects it to become an annual event. There are several marathons in Central Florida, but this one will “highlight the beauty of Old Florida,” he said.
He said the timing of the event will also tie in with The Casements Centennial and the Mayor’s Fitness Challenge.
In the earlier proposal, the city was to waive all permitting and rental fees for The Casements, Fortunato Park and Rockefeller Gardens; furnish police support for traffic control and safety; and provide marketing assistance. The cost to the city was estimated at $8,150.
In the new, approved proposal, the city will still waive fees but Final Mile will pay for police. The cost to the city will be $4,100.
The Casements Guild is in favor of the event. Vic Liviccori, vice president, told the commission the guild had been trying to think of a racing-related event for two years to help celebrate the centennial year.
“It will help us educate the public on The Casements and the Birthplace of Speed,” Liviccori told the commission.
Commissioner Bill Partington said he was supporting the event because it will be good for economic development.
“I’m comfortable, now that the hard costs are covered,” he said. “It’s the right thing for the city to do.”
Kent asked Leisure Services Director Robert Carolin at the meeting if fees for Rockefeller Gardens had ever been waived for a for-profit group, and Carolin said no.
“This is a slippery slope, gentlemen,” Kent said. “We’re going to have a lot of people asking for fees to be waived.”
Kent said he is in favor of the marathon and wants it to be successful, but he said he cannot spend taxpayer money on an event run by a for-profit company.
Halifax Health is a partner in presenting the event.
“We think it fits perfectly with our long-term goal of helping our entire community live their life well through exercise and proper nutrition,” said John Guthrie, director of corporate communications for Halifax Health, in a press release.
For volunteer or sponsorship information, call 407-314-8583. To register for the race, visit tomokamarathon.com.