Being somewhat of a cynic, I’ve been wondering if there wasn’t a directed, unstated recommendation expected from the Voulsia County Beachside Redevelopment Commission. At first I thought it might be a rubber stamping of the boardwalk expansion. But at the January 8, 2018 meeting I think we may have gotten our answer, Two Daytona. That’s the idea that a large development, similar to One Daytona, on the Ocean Center parking lots and in the surrounding Main Street area will be the transformative project to save Main Street.
To me, it’s another big swing for the fences that completely ignores the victories we can have playing small ball. Small ball victories would have transformed the neighborhood over the past decade. Instead of playing victorious small ball, we played the EZone Plan and struck out.
Once again we may be placing all our hopes on the certainty that this big swing will actually be the game winning home run. If we put our focus on this big swing, this game winning home run, it is all too likely that there will be no effective attention paid to the truly transformative, mundane plays that could actually save our neighborhoods.
A truly transformative game plan would put code enforcement, increased public safety, relief for the homeless, cleanliness, beautification, a sensible, fully enforced, bike week master plan, and staff accountability ahead of new development. It would be truly transformative if the city actually provided effective leadership on events, redevelopment, and basic services.
Instead our code enforcement department is MIA. They seem willfully ineffective. You have to ask, who benefits, and in what way, when our older neighborhoods crumble?
Leadership of our CRA Board is non-existent. In our CRAs, half the money spent outside of debt service in FY 2017 was on payroll. During that year, the Main Street CRA spent $5,500 in grants, $50,000 on pressure washing in prep/cleanup for events, and $62,000 on fireworks and street decorations. Again, you have to ask, who benefits, and in what way, when our CRAs are poorly supervised and virtually non-functional?
The current state of our older neighborhoods represents years of inaction and failed leadership at city hall. The very existence of this committee is a testament to that failure. When will anyone be held accountable?
Let’s make small ball the primary and immediate game plan. Let’s rack up a few victories playing small ball before we swing for the fences.