As the clock ticks toward the beginning of the Florida Legislature’s 2023 general session, Deltona is looking for help in Tallahassee to deal with leftover and lingering problems from hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
Although he is the interim city manager — with no interest in becoming Deltona’s permanent administrator — James Chisholm has compiled a wish list of flood control, drainage and other capital projects.
“It’s going to be close to $100 million,” he said, anticipating the cost.
Chisholm, formerly city manager of Daytona Beach, came out of retirement to serve as Deltona’s interim manager in October. The City Commission hired him for the top post following the abrupt termination of resigning Acting City Manager John Peters.
The list of big-ticket items follows from a pre-Christmas special meeting of the City Commission, at which state Rep. Webster Barnaby, R-Deltona, urged city leaders to present to him a list of specific projects that may be eligible for funding in the state’s 2023-24 budget.
Barnaby, freshly re-elected to the Florida House of
Representatives, stopped short of guaranteeing state appropriations for local projects, but he raised the hopes of Deltona officials who are wondering how to restore Deltona to its pre-Ian condition and head off massive flooding in the future.
“I believe if we ask big, we get big,” Barnaby told the City Commission.
The projects Chisholm identified as vital are:
— An emergency outfall from Lake Theresa to move stormwater southward to the St. Johns River, with the flow to be kept open at all times, cost to be determined
— Flood mitigation around the intersection of Elkcam Boulevard and Delaware Road, to be attained by placing a pump station to take water from Lake DuPont to Deep Creek, $4,168,498
— Installing a pump station at or near the intersection of Newmark and Amboy drives, to move water from the Lake Theresa Basin to a stormwater pond off Whipple Drive, $3,000,628
— Installing a pump station at or near the intersection of Newmark and Amboy drives, to move water to an existing drainage-retention area close to the intersection of Whipple Drive and Harrow Avenue, $3,401,287
— Flood control in the Windsor Lake area which would involve installing a pump system to move water during major storms, perhaps along with the purchase of 210 acres of undeveloped land, $10,846,955
— The Eastbrooke drainage area would be improved by enlarging a stormwater pond and installing a pump station and a force main to increase the flow into Lake Catherine, and also then adding a pump station and force main to move water from Lake Catherine to Lake Theresa, $1,916,948
— Lake Theresa Basin pipe crossings and connections may be improved by upsizing and replacement of pipes, as well as the installation of gates to control the flow of water moving downstream, $1,323,682
— The Ledford property, with unimproved drainage areas, is a vacant tract with a conservation easement created in conjunction with the Theresa Basin outfall to Lake Bethel. A new retention 10-acre pond may be needed. The cost is estimated at $1.7 million.
— Elevating the level of the segments of Elkcam Boulevard, between Van Orman Drive and Montecito Avenue and between Oneida Court and Jessamine Court, may prevent flooding of the road in the future. The design, engineering, permitting and construction of the elevated roadway may cost approximately $8 million.
— Although it is not a water project, Deltona’s piece of the Rhode Island Avenue extension from Orange City is an item of major concern. Rhode Island Avenue is a Volusia County thoroughfare that may be extended eastward from its current terminus at Veterans Memorial Parkway in Orange City to connect with Normandy Boulevard. County transportation planners have envisioned the extension of Rhode Island Avenue, with a bridge spanning Interstate 4 to Deltona, for several years.
The Florida Department of Transportation has discussed creating a new I-4 interchange at such a crossing. The interchange may be closer to reality, given the establishment of the Portland Industrial Park, with Amazon and other new massive industrial buildings along Normandy Boulevard in Deltona, and the truck traffic those facilities generate.
Deltona’s leaders, for their part, have talked about extending Rhode Island further eastward along the south edge of the industrial park and curving it northeastward to Deltona High School. The estimated cost of the inside-Deltona piece of Rhode Island Avenue is approximately $18 million.
— Not least, Chisholm is seeking the Legislature’s help to double the capacity of Deltona’s Eastern Wastewater Treatment Facility from 1.5 million gallons of sewage per day to 3 million gallons per day. The estimated cost of this proposal is $40 million.
In addition, Chisholm is asking for the state’s assistance to upgrade the Fisher Drive Wastewater Treatment Plant to remove more nitrogen from the sewage it now receives. The advanced treatment of the wastewater at the aging facility would cost about $30 million.
Altogether, the known projected costs of these projects is about $115.2 million. The costs may trend higher in the inflationary environment. Moreover, there may be legal expenses if someone contests any of the projects on environmental or property-rights grounds.
Still, Deltona’s leaders say they are ready and determined to make their city a better and more resilient place to live, work and play.
“You’ve told us to ask, and we’re going to ask — for a lot,” Mayor Santiago Avila Jr. told Barnaby. “2023 has to be Deltona’s year.”
“We’re going to be loud about it, because we want to rebuild our city,” Commissioner Dana McCool said.
The legislative general session begins on March 7.
Deltona has the highest rates for water that is unfit to drink yet I see nothing proposed about improving the water quality that we are paying top dollar for! Also, the roads are deplorable, especially E. Normandy Blvd. from Saxon. The W. Normandy road going towards the Epic Theater and Amazon is good but the E. Normandy residential area is a mess! We need less dollar stores and industrial parks and more restaurants, shopping…. Deltona has nothing but fast food restaurants and Dollar stores.
Yeah, let’s have more low-paying jobs instead of decent-paying jobs. These industrial parks and medical centers will eventually bring more jobs than an Olive Garden will. Deltona needs higher-paying jobs so folks don’t have to drive to Orlando. People are fascinated with having restaurants in Deltona. SMH
I say more jobs. More places to eat more fun places we have plenty of dollar stores and Walmarts we need some fun u Know how much money Deltona could bring in if their was something by Amazon tht was like go karts. drag strip. Car meet area or paintball fields something fun for adults and kids their so much money Deltona could make and all they care about is dollar stores and fast food places