New downtown Debary will bring new apartments, retail shops for community

The DeBary Main Street project is on schedule, with crews expected to break ground as soon as this Summer, according to city officials.

Mayor Karen Chasez said the new Main Street area will provide apartments, retail, and other amenities for the community.

It will be located off of Fort Florida Road, on what is now named South Shell Road.

"We have to stay focused on building a lifestyle there that is compatible with our existing lifestyle," she said.

In addition to the new Main Street, the city is moving forward to provide a natural park for people to fish, bike, walk, or carry out other activities they enjoy.

"We are so privileged to be able to deliver another 170 acres of green space that we acquired just last month," she said.

One side of the park can be accessed by Fort Florida Road. It is bordered by St. John’s River. Beginning April 1, Chasez said the public feedback portion of the park planning process will begin.

"That is a way to galvanize the community to come together for something that is really exciting for all of them," she said.

Thus far, she said people have been all in favor of the park, but some draw issues with the new Main Street.

"They love the park, they are less enthused about having denser housing in the south part of the city," Chasez said.

She explained much of the area is entitled property, which means the owners have the right to build what they want. The downtown concept came into play after officials found many of the property owners had different visions for the area.

City Manager Carmen Rosamonda said the projects were planned with three goals in mind. They wanted to create a more urban atmosphere while adding spaces for ecotourism and maintaining their identity as a small town.

"We’ve always been a very close-knit community and we take pride in that," Rosamonda said.
The timeline to begin construction is set for late Summer, and possibly early Fall.