Ormond Beach, FL - It was originally slated for the development of 76 new homes but now a plot of land in the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail will be preserved, thanks to the efforts of a local grass-roots organization.
The Volusia County Council made the unanimous decision Tuesday (April 20) to buy the 36-acres of land from local land developer Parker Mynchenberg after nearly 40 minutes of comments from the public.
Council was presented with a proposal to buy the land for $988,000, which is well below the original asking price of $1.37 million.
Among those watching the vote were members of Dream Green Volusia, a group that was instrumental in helping convince Mynchenberg to sell the plot of land that fronts the west side of Old Dixie Highway in Ormond Beach, just north of the entrance to the Plantation Oaks subdivision. A petition drive spearheaded by Dream Green Volusia also garnered 71,000 signatures.
"I personally feel that this purchase is one of the best opportunities for land conservation on The Loop for years. And The Loop is worthy of our protection," Natalie Pilipczak, who started the online petition, told the County Council. "I urge you to assign your attention to conservation and utilize Volusia’s resources to the best of your ability."
The land, which was part of a much larger residential development that has been in the planning stages for years, was designated a National Scenic Byway and a Florida Scenic Highway by the Federal Highway Administration, thanks to the lands historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities.
Some of those historic qualities include the structural remains and a scatter of artifacts that indicate the presence of a late 18th or early 19th century homestead on the property.
Under the plan approved by the council, up to $738,353 of the purchase price will come from the county’s ECHO program, with another $234,647 coming from an agreement with a developer who gave the money to the county to be used for parks and park maintenance in the area.
The remaining $15,000 was going to come from donations raised by the North Florida Land Trust and Dream Green Volusia. But the council learned that the two organizations have now raised $26,250, which could reduce the county’s share.
At the moment, plans call for the development of a small park on the site with minimal amenities and almost a mile of passive walking trails. The trail would extend north to the Ormond Tomb Park and onward to the Bulow Creek State Park Other amenities would include a pavilion, picnic tables and interpretive panels.
Before the sale is made final, the county has 90 days to complete a survey, review the title and buy a title commitment, with the closing of the deal scheduled to take place no more than 30 days later