Editor, The Beacon:

Let me be perfectly clear, I am considering moving away from the DeLand area, which is adding stress and remorse to my life.

My parents retired here 30-plus years ago and loved this small town and helped to make it better. When I retired here seven years ago, it retained much of the charm but was losing some of the small-town feel.

DeLand still has much to offer, but I see so many of the good qualities that are on the chopping block, or are in front of the bulldozer and dump truck.

Being born in small-town Miami, living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and finally St. Louis, Missouri, I can attest to — and detest — what living in a big city is like.

When I was born in Miami-Dade County in 1954, it had the exact same population that Volusia County has today. This is no coincidence, and the future could be similar, especially when all the climate refugees move north.

But where to go to find a sustainable community with honorable representation and a community that fosters caring and consideration for all people and also the environment that nurtures and sustains us?

The city commissioners cannot deny that there may be some serious environmental issues with the Southridge property.

If they continue to put their heads in the sand, they may not want to chance it being in the old city dump and golf course sand.

To what dangers have the residents of that area been exposed, and how about the underground water downstream, which I understand naturally flows in the direction I live and my parents did, who both developed cancer?

Further deep soil and well testing would be responsible leadership.

In either outcome, the property should be preserved, either as a city park to make a stand and enhance DeLand, or to section off for eventual cleanup and remediation. The judgment on the city commissioners’ tenure will rely on what happens with this Southridge property.

Do they want the disdain of the folks that they represent, or to disappoint a profiteer?

The city commissioners’ choice seems clear to anyone who is not financially aligned or thinks the neighboring property owners don’t have their own rights.

Jim Durocher




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