Transformation of Daytona Beach
The challenge: Coming up with one message that will resonate with residents, businesses and tourists.
Maryam Ghyabi is leading a group that is studying the area’s infrastructure.? [Photo: David Carter]
“The vision, while not yet fully defined, is jobs, transportation and sustainability in a way that redefines, elevates and distinguishes Daytona as a special place,” says Larry McKinney, president of The Chamber, Daytona Beach-Halifax Area. “Cooperation among all affected stakeholders is important.”?
A task force is meeting weekly to research what made the city special in the past, speaking with old-time residents and museum workers, says Jack White, a real estate redeveloper who co-chairs the group with John Guthrie, vice president of business development and partnerships for Daytona Beach International Speedway. Meanwhile, Maryam Ghyabi of engineering and planning firm Ghyabi and Associates is leading a group that is studying how the city, county and state could improve the area’s infrastructure.
The task force wants to capitalize on the village concept in urban areas, where people live, work and play in the same neighborhood.
Finding one theme for the entire area will be tricky, Guthrie says. The city has been famous for Speedweek, Spring Break, Bike Week, Black College Reunion and other events that made it a hot spot for revelers. Is that enough to make people want to visit — or better yet, move there and seek employment?
“When they say Nashville’s the music city, it’s very clear what you’re going to get when you go there,” Guthrie says. “What is Daytona Beach’s real identity? We’re finding out through history it’s always been driven heavily by events. What we’re trying to do is find an identity for the area that everybody can feel a part of.”
The stretch that Daytona Beach is trying to rebrand on includes a diverse mixture of landmarks:
Daytona Beach International Speedway
The under-construction Daytona Live town center
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach Community College
Halifax Medical Center
The Beach Drive shopping district
The Second Avenue downtown district
Historic Main Street
The Ocean Center
“The World’s Most Famous Beach”