County Council Plans To Improve Beach Access, Approves New Beach Tolls

By on November 2, 2017 in WNDB News

Volusia County, FL – On Thursday, the Volusia County Council discussed some proposed changes and upgrades for the area’s beaches, including more beach ramps, the approval of the purchase of eight new beach toll booths for a total of $73,920.96, and the possibility of increasing the price of a daily pass for beach-goers.

The Council unanimously approved the purchase of the eight new toll booths that will be made by Mardan Fabrication and will take about 10 to 12 weeks to construct. The booths will be placed at seven new beach ramps. The County had already approved the opening of the seven additional beach ramps last month. The Council approved the purchase of eight toll booths so that service is not reduced if one of the other booths needs to be repaired. The new ramps will be opened to the public after the toll booths are fully installed next Spring.

Higher rates for daily passes to the beach could come along with the new ramps and toll booths. The prices for the passes are proposed to increase from $10 to $20 for 2018, potentially bringing in an increase of approximately $4 million in revenue for 2018. That money would all go back to the beaches for ramps, toll workers, and better litter collection services. The County is expected to make the final vote on the beach pass rates at its November 16 meeting.

County Manager Jim Dinneen says that the money from beach passes would be spent on beach access first and foremost. “The money is being generated to open all the ramps. That is the primary place the money goes first,” says Dinneen.

All of the proposed improvements for beach access are expected to be completed by Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. Council hopes that the improvements will be ready before then so that beach-goers can enjoy the improvements ahead of the Easter weekend. The improvements include site upgrades to existing ramps, the addition of the new ramps and toll booths, and reconstruction of the Williams Ave. beach ramp that was damaged during Hurricane Matthew.

The County Council also plans to focus on an effort to keep the beaches clean, including more public outreach, more trash cans in accessible areas, and an increase in the number of litter porters. The Council also mentioned a brand new turtle mascot.

(Photo of mascot CiCi the Turtle courtesy Volusia County records)

Council Chair Ed Kelley said he previously compared the County’s vision for clean Volusia beaches to Disney. “What I said was, relative to trash, you go to Disney, there’s no trash lying around. That was what I was referring to was to make it like Disney so it’s clean,” explains Kelley.

Council member Deborah Denys says that the beach improvements would not make Volusia beaches Disney-like. “One turtle mascot does not Disney-like make it,” says Denys. “However, I think the message that we are sending is that we want to be friendly to our beach-goers as we have been, such as, when they’re being patrolled, there’s no weapons in view.” Denys says she wants everyone to have a pleasant experience at the beach.

Another item that the Council approved at the meeting was a new economic development incentive fund for the $4.5 million in financial incentives approved for development of a new Brown & Brown Insurance Company Headquarters on North Beach St. in Daytona Beach. The County approved the incentive money for Brown & Brown last month. According to County records, the $4.5 million would be transferred from the economic development fund to the new fund that was set up for the purposes of transparency and accountability.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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