BY JAMES HARPER
Daytona Beach city staff and elected officials were among about 50 people planting approximately 70 trees Wednesday at the site of the new Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural and Educational Center.
City leaders included Daytona Assistant City Manager Betty Goodman, Commissioners Carl W. Lentz IV, Pam Woods and Patrick Henry.
The center’s opening has been pushed back to the end of May.
Leisure Services Director Percy Williamson said an actual date for the opening hasn’t been selected yet as the city continues to furnish the one-story building. However, he said he is grateful to NASCAR for contributing the trees to help cut the city’s landscaping costs.
As part of NASCAR Race to Green and the NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program, NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway employees partnered together to plant the trees.
Andrew Gurtis, Vice President Operations for the Daytona International Speedway, said NASCAR Green Clean Air is a unique program that plants 10 trees for each green flag that drops during races, capturing 100 percent of the carbon produced by the on track racing at the events.
“As a result of the seven green flags during the 55th annual Daytona 500 in February, 70 trees are being planted at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural and Educational Center,” Gurtis said.
More trees coming
UPS also will supply an additional 90 trees through the Arbor Day Foundation that will go back in the local community through Habitat for Humanity and the Volusia County School Board.
Daytona Beach commissioners voted earlier this year to increase the budget allotted for the center by $330,000 to help furnish it.
Initially, back in December 2011, the commission authorized $2,689,000 for the construction of the center but that amount did not include landscaping or funds to purchase furniture, finishes, equipment and other amenities.