The Volusia County Fairgrounds east of DeLand is well-known for the Volusia County Fair every year, and, more recently, it has become known as the site for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. But with more than 100 acres, three huge arenas, a large exhibit hall, and loads of classroom space, some people think it could be so much more.
Volusia County — in partnership with the University of Florida, the Volusia County Fair and Youth Show, the Farm Bureau, and the Cattlemen’s Association — has contracted for a master planning process to strengthen and improve the Volusia County Fairgrounds as a community hub for agricultural and other community activities and events.
Managed by the county’s Resource Stewardship department, which oversees the local branch of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Service as part of its mission, the planning process kicked off April 1 with researchers’ discussions with the four agencies that own various parts of the 111 acres that collectively form what is commonly referred to as “the fairgrounds,” said Resource Stewardship Director Brad Burbaugh in a telephone interview with The Beacon.
“We’re bringing in some resources from the University of Florida, which is doing this as a research project,” Burbaugh said. “It’s costing us about $34,000,” which is much less than such work typically costs.
According to a description of the project Burbaugh supplied, Phase I of the research was collecting input from the property owners about what they wanted or needed in terms of such things as the condition of the site, buildings, grounds and site amenities such as paving and walkways; additional access points and traffic circulation; adequacy for use during future emergencies; and the potential for future improvements and expansion.
Phase II consists of getting input from the public, which will happen at a community meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 16, in the Hester Building at the fairgrounds, 3100 E. New York Ave., DeLand.
The UF researchers will seek input from residents, who will be actively engaged in identifying key priorities, projects and initiatives that will help Volusia County take advantage of future opportunities and possibilities for the fairgrounds. That could include learning what kinds of events or activities respondents would like to see happen.
A short survey is available at https://tinyurl.com/VCfairgrounds for those who are unable to attend the meeting but would like to provide input.
For Phase III, the UF research team will take the results of Phases I and II to develop a proposed site development plan for the fairgrounds complex. The planning document says the plan, which is supposed to be completed by Oct. 1, will be useful in gaining project support and communicating the plan to the community.
“The result of the process will be a well-planned, collaborative vision and conceptual plan that will serve as a guide for ensuring Volusia County is positioned to address current and future challenges, and capitalize on the strategic location of the fairgrounds to expand use and better serve county residents,” Burbaugh said in a news release.
Contact Burbaugh at 386-943-7081 or email@example.com for more information.