By Dan Harkins
DELTONA - As of this week, just one name has been nominated to be on the sign at the city's newest park off ranch-style Doyle Road, where it crosses Lush Lane.
But Parks Director Steve Moore said it's too early to start some kind of name war.
"I'm leery of doing that right now," he said. "I'm anticipating getting some more (names) as we move through the process, and we're encouraging more participation to get some additional names. We're very excited about the possibilities for the future there."
The 60-acre park started out as a chicken farm in the city's rural southern quadrant. Then hurricanes in 2003 and 2004 prompted city leaders to buy the property for $95,000, City Manager Faith Miller said, to build a pump station and treatment pond.
But the small parking lot near the park's entrance is the only area where this stormwater work is prominent today. In the rest of the park, "Beware of Alligator" signs foretell the possibilities of uninterrupted wildlife viewing along the park's scenic mulched trails, which tidily connect to the fledgling East Central Regional Rail Trail.
"Ultimately this path will cross Volusia County to Edgewater," Mr. Moore said, giving bikers an ecotourism option with a wealth of possibilities.
As far as other amenities, the park's location will allow for only some kinds of uses, Mr. Moore said, such as playground equipment, pavilions and restroom facilities.
"The best thing for us to do is sit back and take a look at the permitting for that land, since it's a restricted area," he said. "Then we can figure out what we'd like to do and how we're gonna get the money to do it."
The last time city leaders named a new park, the 40-acre Thornby Park in February 2011, a joint venture with Volusia County - Commissioner Zenaida Denizac and others from the community voiced opposition to how the park was named after the property's inhabitants for a century without any other candidates being considered.
"This was just wrong," she said in recent weeks. "Where was the public input there?"
Even though the property was sold to the city by the Thornby estate with the stipulation that it ultimately be used as park land, the fracas led Mayor John Masiarczyk to spearhead a new city law that was just adopted last month that spells out exact guidelines for how a new city park must be named in the future.
That, from now on, involves a democratic process of the community.
"We certainly don't need to have any controversy surrounding the opening of a new public amenity," Mayor Masiarczyk said. "We'll follow everything to the letter."
The law requires that any nominees be deceased and to have lived in Deltona for at least a decade.
It didn't used to be that way. The law previously stated that the name of a new city park could be any resident "living or deceased."
At a June 11 workshop, city commissioners threw around several potential names for the new park, from the utilitarian "Lush Lane Park" by Vice Mayor Paul Treusch to the "Deltona Environmental Park" by Commissioner Denizac, a local schoolteacher by day.
Other names mentioned at the meeting: Sheriff's Memorial Park, William S. Harvey Park, Winding Trail Park, Ecological Park and Hideaway Park.
And the list goes on.
Fill out a nomination form at the city's website, www.deltonafl.gov. Nominations will be accepted for the next few months.