DeLand, FL – Today’s Volusia County Council meeting sees a land swap which DeLand officials hope leads to a big change for its downtown.
Council members unanimously approved a cost-free exchange with the city, with the county taking over the former library site on 121 West Rich Avenue in exchange for the old Volusia Jail location on 130 West New York Avenue.
As part of the deal, DeLand bears all cleanup and demolition costs for the old jail property, estimated to be around $200,000 because of asbestos and other issues.
The county also handed over two other properties to DeLand as part of this deal: a parking lot on West Georgia Avenue to the south of the old county jail and a property east of the intersection of Amelia and East New Hampshire avenues which is currently being used by Volusia County Public Works.
Volusia County currently uses the West Rich location to house health department employees, paying $50,000 a year in rent to the city.
The DeLand City Commission approved its end of the swap at a prior meeting, hoping to redevelop the old county jail site into something which brings a big economic benefit to downtown.
Prior to the vote, VCC member Pat Patterson says this is something he’s been pushing for years.
“Something needed to be done with [the jail] property over there because it was an eyesore of sorts,” Patterson added. “It’s taken a while to get to this point but I’m glad we are going to be doing something with the city.”
DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar says today’s vote fulfills a “long term goal” in fixing what he also called an eyesore.
“We already have a couple of local groups that have expressed interest in the redevelopment of [the old jail],” Apgar added.
Apgar also noted that the city will be accepting bids for redeveloping the old jail, possibly as soon as tomorrow, and also possibly going back to the county to ask for grant money once plans for the old jail become more concrete.
In other VCC news, the council signed off on a $768 million dollar budget, opting not to raise taxes despite concerns that there’s not enough money in reserves should another hurricane or tropical storm hit.