The City of Titusville, Florida / NewsADVOCATES MARK PROGRESS OF 260-MILE ST. JOHNS RIVER-TO-SEA LOOPDELAND, Fla. -- Supporters of the longest paved loop trail in Florida will meet in DeLand for the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Summit and Celebration – an event targeting completion of the 260-mile St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop.
Construction and completion of the loop can be a key ingredient for regional tourism, business recruitment, and economic development.
"Facilities on the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop can encourage tourism," said Maggie Ardito, president of the alliance. "It shows off the native beauty of Central Florida. It's also the kind of feature executives consider as a quality of life item when contemplating company relocation."
Ardito expects economic development directors, planners, landscape architects, business people and others to attend.
It's the first meeting of the five loop counties -- Volusia, Putnam, St. Johns, Flagler and Brevard -- since last year's commitment by the Florida Department of Transportation to build the trail to completion.
That commitment spurred the formation of the nonprofit St. Johns River-to-Sea (SJR2C) Loop Alliance that will host the three-day event. The events slated Thursday, Oct. 26-Friday, Oct. 27, and Friday, Oct. 28 in DeLand, DeBary, Enterprise and Deltona.
Chief FDOT planner and former Office of Greenways and Trails Chief Jim Wood will keynote the Community Outreach Day on Friday, October 27.
"Jim Wood is exactly the big picture leader that our audience –- visionaries to cyclists -– want to hear from,” Ardito said.
When complete, the loop will be the most connected paved trail in Florida with links to the East Coast Greenway and the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail. Currently, land acquisition is 63 percent complete; the trail is 31 percent complete and otherwise 22 percent programmed from preliminary design and environmental review to engineering and construction.
“We want to stimulate trail-oriented development and use from Titusville to Palatka, from DeBary to St Augustine by drawing local cyclists and affluent, ecologically aware travelers from around the world,” Ardito said. “It’s all about safer, healthier, more active lifestyles for everyone. We will fulfill the trail’s promise.”
The three-day summit is open to the public and will include an afternoon “Taste of the Loop” tour, ride and dinner (10/26), the community outreach panel and presentations day (10/27), and will end with the family-fun Great DeLand Pumpkin Ride and Safety Village at Bill Dreggors Park (10/28).
• Open sections include DeBary to Osteen (11 miles), Orange City to Beresford Park (6 miles, DeLeon Springs to west of DeLand (6 miles), and north-south through Flagler County. (14 miles)
• By summer 2018, the closing of gaps in the SR 207 corridor will complete a 22-mile section just west from I-95 to Palatka, a distance of 22 miles.
• By fall 2018, Volusia County will close a critical gap between Blue Spring State Park and DeBary Station, where SunRail already connects Orlando cyclists to the trail.
Thursday morning of the summit (10/26), a work session organized by the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council and backed by a $75,000 technical assistance grant from the Department of Economic Opportunity will start work on a strategic plan that will encompass safety issues and branding and marketing.
For more information about the summit, visit: http://www.sjr2c.org.
Summit sponsors include Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, City of Titusville, England-Thims & Miller, Landis Evans Partners, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Dixie Crossroads and Volusia County. Additional sponsors for Saturday’s events include the Deland Area Chamber of Commerce, FDOT and the River to Sea and Space Coast Transportation Organizations.
Several events are included in the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Summit and Celebration, an event targeting completion of the 260-mile St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop by 2025. Register by Monday 10/23 to participate in meals.
Register: LoopSummit.eventbrite.com or www.SJR2C.org for more information
THURSDAY, OCT. 25
Taste of the Loop in Southwest Volusia
2:30 p.m.: Tour of DeBary Hall and Trailhead, DeBary Hall, 198 Sunrise Blvd, DeBary, FL 32713. Free. DeBary Hall: (386) 668-3840
3 p.m.: Green Springs Park Bike Tour, Green Springs Park, 994 Enterprise Osteen Rd, Deltona, FL 32725, Free. Green Springs Park: (386) 736-5953
4 p.m.: Bike Tour Rest Stop, Deltona Community Center, 980 Lakeshore Dr., Deltona, FL 32725, Deltona. Free. Community Center: (386) 878-8910
5 p.m.: Taste Of The Loop reception and dinner, Enterprise Heritage Center, 360 Main St, Enterprise, FL 32725, Tickets are $20 per person in advance via Eventbrite. Enterprise Heritage Center: (386) 259-5900.
FRIDAY, OCT 26
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.: Community Outreach: Fulfilling the Loop's Promise seminar, Tom Kelly Administrative Building 123, W. Indiana, DeLand, FL. $15 fee to cover breakfast and lunch and registration is required. Parking is available in the parking ramp for the Volusia County Courthouse, 101 N. Alabama Ave. DeLand. Parking in other county parking lots is limited to three hours.
SATURDAY, OCT. 27
9 a.m.: Helmet giveaway and fitting, bike safety check, bike rodeo at Bill Dreggors Park and Safety Village.
Noon: The Great DeLand Pumpkin Ride and Bike Safety Event, Bill Dreggors Park and Safety Village, 230 N Stone St, DeLand, FL 32720. Free but registration is required.