The Ormond Beach City Commission voted unanimously Oct. 5 for a consultant to devise a plan for redevelopment of the Riverbend Golf Course.

GAI Consultants Inc. will create a conceptual plan for the city-owned property, which is next to Ormond Beach Municipal Airport.

The 219-acre property was split into three areas for conceptual planning purposes. Area 1 is reserved for future development, Area 2 will add to the Airport Business Park and Area 3 will be examined to determine potential uses, including setting a priority.

GAI also will assist in evaluating existing regulations and physical conditions the could impact prospective development.

Developing the property won't be easy, Mayor Bill Partington noted. “This is the most encumbered federal bureaucracy red tape property that I’ve ever seen. That’s just the environment we have to work in.”

Area 1 probably will be a park, Mayor Partington said. “Whether it’s Frisbee golf or walking trails along the beautiful Tomoka River or a continuation of the amazing bike path residents and others have built out there.”

The property definitely won't be used for businesses or houses, he said. “What our residents are clamoring for in the park survey are more open trails. This is a perfect place to allow that to happen.”

Keeping Area 2, which is where the clubhouse and driving range are located, for golf would be the mayor's preference.

“I would almost be interested in having this company look at possibly putting in a nine-hole golf course, using Area 2 and parts of Area 3,” the mayor said. “I hate the fact we don’t have a public golf course in our city. I know there’s a strong contingent of our residents that would like that. It wouldn’t be an 18-hole course but it’s better than nothing.”

He hopes the land planning follows what residents want, he said. “I’d rather see a little more open-mindedness and a little more ability to listen to what our residents want and are asking for and work that in to the proposals that are ultimately brought back to us”.

However, the city has an obligation to maintain and operate the airport as a public facility, for the benefit of the flying public and as a part of the National Airspace System. As a recipient of federal grant funds used to maintain the airport, the city is bound by certain grant assurances that limit the uses of airport land to those that will benefit and not interfere with the airport.

In other business, the commission approve the annual agreement with the Ormond Beach Memorial Art Museum. Commissioner Troy Kent and Mayor Partington expressed concerns about the city increasing the amount given to the museum from $48,000 to $72,000, but the item was approved 3-2.

Also at the meeting, Mayor Partington read a proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which included urging “residents, agencies and champions to support efforts that prevent and end domestic violence.”

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