The DeBary City Council will soon consider shelling out more than $40,000 as plans move forward for a multimillion-dollar community center.
A council-appointed task force recently backed a request to spend an estimated $42,500 for studies and a deposit on roughly 7 acres next to the DeBary SunRail station.
The council must approve the expenditures for the costs of “due diligence” on the property, which is being considered for a proposed $12.5 million community center.
It has since been considered as a possible home for a proposed taxpayer funded community center because of its location within a key growth zone along U.S. Highway 17-92.
DeBary City Council has expressed support for a center to residents a variety of services, including exercise and gathering opportunities. But it has not yet scheduled a referendum for voter approval.
Voter approval is needed for the city to issue bonds to raise revenue for the project.
The city estimates the project would cost $1.5 million for the land and an additional $11 million for construction.
The council appointed nine residents to a task force to study the proposal.
In June, the DeBary City Council endorsed a recommendation from the task force to pursue the project, saying the panel should work with city staffers on details and develop a public-education campaign for voters.
On Oct. 11, the Community Center Task Force gathered to consider recommendations from city staffers about initial costs to evaluate the 7-acre property, an alternative parcel near Rob Sullivan Park off Highbanks Road or both.
Task Force Support
The task force stuck with its top pick, the 7-acre parcel, endorsing a recommendation from staff to spend an estimated $42,500 for standard “due diligence” costs.
“It’s a normal part of doing this,” Interim City Manager Ron McLemore told task force members. He also noted that if the city won’t lose money if it put money into the land even if voters reject the bond measure. That’s because the value of the land is expected to increase, he said.
The city already owns about 3 acres nearby, another factor cited as a reason to support the 7-acre property.
The expenditures, which must be approved by the City Council, calls for spending:
- $12,000 for two environmental studies
- $5,500 for a real estate appraisal and title search
- $25,000 for a “soft contract” deposit
The City Council is expected to consider the expenditures before the holidays, but an exact date wasn’t immediately available.
As proposed, the two-story building would have more than 40,000 square feet of space and 150 parking spaces.
The center’s operation and maintenance cost are estimated at $561,000. Room rental fees and other charges would generate about $250,000, leaving a deficit of about $311,000.
The property sits inside a roughly 200-acre transit-oriented district (TOD) targeted for a mix of uses, including residential and commercial.
TOD’s First Project
The DeBary City Council recently approved the first project since the TOD was approved.
Hawthorne Landing (also called Integra 289 Exchange) is planned on 16 acres southeast of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Dirksen Drive on land commonly known as the Costa property.
That’s north of the SunRail station and the 7-acre parcel.
Construction on Hawthorne Landing could begin in spring 2018 with completion set for summer 2019.DeBary Community Center
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