By Patrick McCallister
For Hometown News
DELAND -- Earl Brown Park is getting a makeover.
The City Commission will conduct a workshop at the Wayne G. Sanborn Activity Center, 751 S. Alabama Ave., to discuss designs for the upcoming $2.9 million project. That'll start at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11.
"We take our grandson (to Earl Brown) all the time to feed ducks," Commissioner Leigh Matusick said. "It's important to the citizens for a lot of reasons."
Renovations are in the works for another DeLand landmark -- Spec Martin Stadium. The $2.2 million renovations at the football stadium started earlier this year, and should be done by the time the Stetson University Hatters' newly-minted crunch bunch take the field this upcoming football season.
Spec Martin, 260 E. Euclid Ave., was built in 1941 and has gotten a number of improvements over the years. However, more were needed after Stetson announced it joined the Pioneer Football League, and hired a former Princeton coach, Roger Hughes. The school ended its football program in 1956.
The city owns the 6,000-seat stadium, which is used for high-school sports. It's also home to the annual Florida Bandmasters Association District 6 Marching Music Performance Assessment. Originally called DeLand Municipal Stadium, it was renamed in 1973 for James "Spec" Marin, former athletic director at DeLand High School.
Plans are to build a 3,500-square-foot press box, new scoreboards with video screens, expand both locker rooms and put in an athletic training room, along with improving lighting. Stetson is paying for some of the renovation costs.
Earl Brown Park, 750 S. Alabama Ave. turned 40 last year. Like a lot of 40-year-olds, age is starting to show. The 18-acre park is home to the annual DeLand Outdoor Art Festival -- March 23-24 this year.
Renovations include demolition and rebuilding of the Sanborn Activity Center. That'll cost about $1.9 million. Keith Riger, city engineer, said the existing 10,200-square-foot center will be replaced with a 16,400-square-foot one. Architect David Skyles has met with a citizens advisory group to help with planning the new center.
Other park improvements include basketball courts and restrooms, a dog park, and an amphitheater with concession area. Mr. Riger said after the commission gets additional public comments and approves a park design, the city will quickly move to get a contractor and start work.
"We'll put this out for competitive bids -- that'll probably happen in March or April," he said.
Mr. Riger said by June the city will award a contract and get construction started in July.
"We hope to complete it by April 2014," he said.