ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Residents who had been fighting to stop planned development along a beloved scenic route in Volusia County have won their battle.
The county council on Tuesday voted to buy 36 acres of historic land on the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail.
“The public literally rose up and supported this project,” Founder of Dream Green Volusia Suzanne Scheiber said.
Scheiber’s organization handed out over 600 yard-signs and collected 71,000 signatures in hopes to save the land from development.
“If you drive the loop today you can see all of the developments, you can see all the traffic and you can see the loss of wildlife habitat,” she said.
Scheiber was able to get the developer of the plantation oaks subdivision to sell 36 acres to the county for $988,000. The organization raised money to help with that cost, too.
“We raised collectively with North Florida Land Trust $26,250,” she said.
On Tuesday, the council voted to do that, after the county ECHO committee approved the land as historic with portions of Old King’s Road running through it.
“Old Kings Road was built by the British in the 1700s and it was called an engineering treasure and one of the most important roadways in the growth of Florida,” Dona Butler with the county’s community services said.
Those speaking out at the meeting against the purchase today didn’t want tax dollars to go toward it.
Others, including Scheiber, said it’s a move towards creating protections for all the loop and the first piece of land for a larger project.
“The larger project to have a trail, a walk trail and a bike trail, all the way to James Ormond Tomb park,” she said.