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Against the wishes of the new county chair, another oceanfront parking lot will be built for beachgoers. 

County Chair Jeff Brower cast his first 6-to-1 vote at the County Council meeting Jan. 7. He stood alone in opposing the addition of a new parking area, along with other amenities, at Dahlia Avenue and State Road A1A in Daytona Beach Shores. The county already owns the property.

Construction of the parking lot will cost just under $1 million.

“In a time when money is tight, and we have infrastructure needs that are important, and the public is asking, ‘What about my road?’ … I’m wondering if this is the best expenditure of money — for a parking lot,” Brower said. “What we’re doing is taking the most expensive real estate in Volusia County off the tax rolls and making it a permanent liability.”

Besides the initial outlay of $990,000 for pavement and the creation of 61 new parking spaces, Brower noted, the county will have to maintain the property. 

Dahlia Avenue Park, when completed, will also have restrooms, showers, grills and a dune walkover. The plan also calls for a playground to be added later. Funds for the park will come from capital dollars set aside from the collection of beach tolls.

County Council Member Ben Johnson argued in support.

“I’m totally against taking away beach driving,” Johnson said. “We also have times when the beach is closed because of high tides or loose sand or other issues. We have to look after all of our citizens. … We’re making that a private beach for the people that just live there. We have to make a place for our people to park.”

Brower said there is “pressure for removing cars from the beach,” and the presence of off-beach parking may lead to the end of beach parking and beach driving.

Rather than using the land for parking, Brower added, the county should consider allowing private development that would bring in property-tax income

“We put up a parking lot over some of the most valuable property in Volusia County,” he said.

All six other council members voted for the Dahlia Park project.

“I’ll be the lone no,” Brower said.

The County Council awarded the contract for building Dahlia Avenue Park to Paul Culver Construction Inc. of Daytona Beach. Culver submitted the lowest bid of 11 firms that responded to the county’s request for bids. 

The bids ranged from Culver’s low of $990,000 to $1.4 million submitted by C & L Landscape Inc., a Jacksonville company.

The contract calls for the work on the park to be “substantially completed” within 200 days after the county gives Culver a notice to proceed.

An interesting sidelight appears at the end of the 47-page contract, requiring the company to “certify” that it “is not participating in a boycott of Israel,” and that it “has not been engaged in business operations in Cuba or Syria.” 

The company must also make certain it does not appear on the “Scrutinized Companies with Activities in Sudan List” or the “Scrutinized Companies with Activities in the Iran Petroleum Energy Sector List.”

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