The Argosy Motel operated for 61 years.
“This is déjà vu,” said Greg Clark, as he looked out at the waves rolling in at an Ormond-by-the-Sea beach.
His earliest memories are from the age of three at that beach where his family’s motel, Argosy Motel, stood for 61 years. Now, the motel is gone, and the site is now Argosy Park, the newest beach parking lot on the east side of State Road A1A with 42 spaces and outdoor showers.
But it was not a sad day. After managing the motel at 1255 N. Ocean Shore Blvd. with his wife for several years, he planned on selling in 2014, and the county offered $1.25 million. He’s happy it’s a parking lot he can visit anytime. He calls that stretch of beach paradise.
“I want people to visit here forever,” he said. “People don’t realize what a great beach this is.”
He was at the ribbon cutting for Argosy Park on Feb. 22, and three generations of his family were there to celebrate. County officials chose to continue the name to accentuate the community's coastal history, a press release said.
Lori Campbell Baker, of the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, said beach parking benefits visitors as well as residents.
“In some destinations, it’s a challenge to stop and take a peek at the ocean,” she said.
The Argosy Motel was purchased using money split evenly from the county general fund, an ECHO grant and the Ponce Inlet Port Authority.
Money for construction of beach parking lots and amenities, however, comes from money set aside from beach toll revenue, said Jessica Winterwerp, Coastal Division director. For example, Argosy Park construction, including motel removal, cost $463,045, which came from toll fees.
BEACH PARKING, IMPROVEMENTS COMING
Currently under construction is beach parking at Cardinal Drive with 124 spaces where the Other Place nightclub and a gas station were torn down. The lot is across State Road A1A from the beach, but it’s at a signalized intersection. The lot should be ready for parking in late summer, according to Niles Cyzycki, coastal construction manager for Volusia County.
Another parking option west of S.R. A1A is Rockefeller Park, and it’s set for improvements, Cyzycki said. The county is currently in discussion with Florida Department of Transportation to install a pedestrian crosswalk with flashing lights to stop traffic. They also plan to improve the ramp at to make it more aesthetically pleasing for pedestrians and bikers.
There will be a building for the Coastal Division located in the back of the Cardinal Drive beach parking. There was some criticism in taking up space for a building, but Winterwerp said it’s necessary to store supplies for maintenance and beach safety activities. Currently, they must travel to Dunlawton Avenue in Port Orange.
Also there are plans is to tear down the lifeguard tower, damaged by hurricanes, at Al Weeks Sr. Park by May 1. A new tower will be constructed to the west of the dunes when an agreement can be reached with FEMA, Cyzycki said. There is a demand for services in the area, he said, especially now with the beach parking available.