What the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce envisions for East ISB.
Improvements to East International Speedway Boulevard and the downtown beachside in Daytona Beach are being made a priority as city, county and business leaders put their heads together to redevelop the area.
At the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues breakfast meeting, Chamber President and CEO Nancy Keefer shared a video showing what the East ISB corridor could look like if beachside redevelopment momentum continues to plow ahead. That, coupled with an enhanced focused on code enforcement, policing and crackdowns on panhandling, could make that vision a reality in the future.
“I think you’re going to see some pretty major changes starting now and moving forward if they can get some of the ordinances adopted that are going to make a big difference in this area," Keefer said.
Daytona Beach City Manager Jim Chisholm said the city has invested between $5-6 million in East ISB improvement, mainly the acquisition of property, but that will soon transition to other projects in the road way. He also mentioned the Blue Water project along the Halifax River. According to Blue Water's website, the group of limited liability companies has full entitlements of a 300-suite hotel and 156 boat slip marina with amenities.
“So we’ve got a lot of action – a lot of things happening from the standpoint of investment," Chisholm said. "That doesn’t mean it’s over. There’s a lot of opportunity and we are the best kept secret when it comes to value for investment in the beachside.”
The opportunity to invest has caught the attention of the County and Daytona Beach and is current being worked on, he added. He said about a billion dollars worth of investments are in the works for downtown over the next few months.
In reference to the identity of Daytona Beach, which was called "the brand of Volusia County" by past Beachside Redevelopment Committee Member Frank Molnar, Keefer said the city should stand by the fact special events play a big part. Without them, she said
there wouldn't be as much investment opportunity, especially with the hotel industry.
“I will tell you we are a special events county and we should not be ashamed of that," Keefer said. "It is a driver of the economy but that doesn’t mean that we can’t work to improve the events that are here to attract the right type of events.”
Chisholm said the real issue are the panhandlers and the large homeless population. That's a priority for Daytona Beach as well, he said.
“It has not escaped us the difficulty with that particular phenomenon is a free speech issue," Chisholm said. "It’s a constitutional issue and there’s certain things you can do and certain laws you can put into place that will regulate that and we’re in the process of implementing those issues now.”