DEBARY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Randy Armstrong can be seen rollerblading four to five times a week at Gemini Springs Park in DeBary. "I like the snaky turns in here," he says.
The City of DeBary plans to buy 100 acres of conservation land near Gemini Springs to build a storm water pond system and apartments, with possible future development. It’s across from the SunRail station on U.S. Highway 17-92. Some residents are strongly against this. "We’ve got enough mini malls already," Armstrong says.
City Manager Dan Parrot says the millions in tax dollars that would come into the city would be spent on cleaning up DeBary’s natural environment. Parrot said, "We’re not going to do anything that’s going to degrade the springs more than they already are. It’s going to clean up the 900 acres of the DeBary Bayou that is dying, which I said is a dying ecosystem."
On Sunday afternoon, some DeBary residents were so determined to fight this plan they showed up with signs at the intersection of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Highbanks. DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson is part of the group opposed to the plan.
Mayor Johnson spelled out his reasons online, saying Parrott and the city’s growth manager, “...added high density residential & commercial development to the layout, stretched the the storm water pond into the private properties, and urged the spending of $250,000-plus tax dollars by falsely indicating support and approval of the plan.”
Parrot says nothing was slipped into this plan. He says the mayor has been apart of this from the beginning and nothing has changed except the mayor’s position on the issue. Parrot said, "We’ve talked about this land deal for well over a year, at least 6 meetings on it and mayor was in attendance of those."
The DeBary Council will vote to move forward with the Gemini Springs plan on Wednesday May 4 at their 7 p.m. meeting.