DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A new push from the Volusia County Chairman hopes to reopen beach driving in a popular section of the beach.
Jeff Brower wants to open the roughly half-mile of beach between the Main Street Pier and International Speedway Boulevard to drivers.
"We can bring back local customers and tourists all year long to see our boardwalk in this retail area," said Brower.
At the State of the County, Brower made it one of his three goals for 2022 to allow driving in the area.
"When this section of beach was closed, this important retail section of our beach side closed right along with it," said Brower.
The beach between Seabreeze and International Speedway Boulevard closed to cars in February 2000. Brower would like to extend the beach driving zone that begins at Emilia Ave to the pier. Some beachgoers are on board.
"It’s just dead space right here," said Rich Gourley. "Nobody uses it. It’s always open so why not park some cars there. Get more people out here."
Bringing in more people is something one local business owner believes will have an economic domino effect.
"The more people you can put in this area would benefit the stores which in turn would bring more businesses to this area, more high dollar restaurants and bring more high dollars to the industry itself as well as Daytona Beach in the surrounding communities," said George St. Pierre, the owner of Jungle George’s.
Although, Bob Davis of the Lodging and Hospitality Association feels the beach economy is already thriving and that you also have to think of the tourists.
"Those that don’t like the driving section have children. They want to sit down and lounge, have a Coke, and let their children run back-and-forth without being intimidated by vehicles," said Davis.
Davis said studies they have done with tourists show 70% of them won’t visit Daytona Beach because of the beach driving. He feels the current layout of the beach is fine as is.