By Erika Webb
Everything's for sale -- even Deltona City Hall.
At a workshop on April 22, the Deltona City Commission discussed what to do with various properties around the city, including land it owns and may want to build on or sell, as well as property the city may want to purchase.
The commission also discussed requests for additional park sites, soccer complexes, the best locations for athletic fields, cost of establishing athletic fields and putting in field lighting as well as amounts being paid by patrons using Deltona facilities.
Acting City Manager Dave Denny gave the commission an overview of several areas, including the 40-acre Casey property across from Fire Station 65 on Howland Boulevard; 40 acres off of Allen Lane; the Outrigger property owned by the Deltona Soccer Club; and the 122-acre city owned property on Alexander Avenue, which is being considered as the site of a new water plant, recharge area for the aquifer and additional reuse water area.
Commissioners looked at how much money the city is spending on recreation and directed staff to determine a pay-as-you-go plan for lights at Deltona sports fields for commission review.
Electricity at Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex alone is costing the city $5,000 a month Steve Moore, director of parks and recreation, told commissioners.
Mr. Denny said the cost of establishing lighting for a soccer field is $185,000 and that most leagues want to play at night.
For Deltona, accommodating preferences isn't as easy as it may have been in the past. With a 60 percent property devaluation throughout the city, tax revenues have been hard-hit.
Commissioner Heidi Herzberg said the city needs to run more like a business and less like a charity.
"I frankly am willing to take the heat," she said.
Mayor John Masiarczyk said a representative from Daytona State College contacted him to discuss the college's need for more campus space, and the DSC board had discussed the possibility of buying City Hall to expand its Deltona campus.
Commissioner Webster Barnaby asked whether 17 acres behind Fire Station 65 would be a potential location for a new city hall, should the current location be sold to the college.
"Yes, that is a possibility," Mr. Denny said.
He suggested that since Public Works will only use 45 to 47 acres for the water plant, the remaining acreage could be used for additional athletic fields, and the location would provide accessible reuse water to maintain the fields.
The acting city manager advised the commission Deltona Soccer Club offered to turn the Outrigger property over to the city in exchange for soccer fields with lights, but, he cautioned, there are challenges to putting outdoor lighting in a residential neighborhood. The commission declined the offer.
It also decided against a consideration to buy the Casey property off Howland Boulevard because of development challenges due to property elevation changes.
Vice Mayor Zenaida Denizac said the idea of a soccer stadium has been brought up by community members and she expressed concerns about how that would affect the millage rate. The vice mayor urged the commission to use caution going forward.
"The culture of entitlement needs to stop," she said.
Mr. Denny said the Deltona Soccer Club is begging for more soccer fields, that the organization wants to put 400 to 600 more kids in its program. He told the commission the city needs to do something or risk "turning away a lot of Deltona kids," but he agreed there is no money to put in athletic fields and the city will have to use a portion of the revenue from the sale of DuPont Lakes to replace the DuPont Lakes fields.
He said he is still waiting for an appraisal on that property.
Commissioner Nancy Schleicher asked what it would cost to build one soccer field. Mr. Denny said the cost of two soccer fields with lighting is around $600,000.
The commission directed staff to look at what kind and how many athletic fields can be put at the Deltona Water site and agreed the city should put soccer fields at Dwight Hawkins Park, with or without Echo Grant Funds.
City staff also was directed to move forward with trying to lease or sell Howland Crossings to a private entity for an assisted living facility.