BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Commissioner Paula Reed announced that the paving of Martin Luther King Boulevard from Orange Avenue to Shady Place soon will be a reality during the Midtown Redevelopment Area Board’s June 10 meeting. Although she couldn’t give an exact date, Reed says officials have told her it will take place within the next 90 days.
One board member confirmed that she saw signs of the work in progress when a public works employee was doing some work outside of her home.
“I actually saw a water man putting the hose down into my water meter and he said they were paving Martin Luther King. I couldn’t believe it,” board member Dr. Irma Jamison said following Reed’s announcement.
I told him “I didn’t believe him, and I asked him ‘In what year?’ I was the first one here tonight (at the meeting) because I wanted to hear it. So thank you!”
“I’m glad you are here to be a part of it.” Reed responded. “If we all ask, something has got to be done.”
Recreation for youth
In addition to the favorable news about MLK Boulevard, board members said recreational activities needed to be made available for Daytona Beach’s teens.
Board member and former Daytona Beach Commissioner Steven Miller says the city needs to form a board to create recreational activity for the youth.
“I’d like to talk about juvenile issues for those age 13-17/18. There is little for these kids to do in our neighborhood. I wonder if we were more proactive on the front end we wouldn’t have to spend so much money on the back end.”
Parks and Recreation board
The question came up during a discussion of CompStat. The Daytona Beach Police Department uses a computerized database to map criminal activity, detect patterns and identify hot spots, which is known as CompStat, an abbreviation of Computer Statistics.
“Some of it (programs for youth) the police can deal with, but most of that comes through the Department of Recreation doesn’t it? Leisure Services?” board member Joseph Pozzuoli asked.
“We have a lot of police here in the City of Daytona Beach and the biggest part of our budget is the police department. I hear the chief talk about we have gangs and that type of thing. But I notice we have no recreation for that age group. What do we expect these kids to do? If we don’t give them a team to be on, they will go be a part of a gang,” added Miller.
“I agree with you 150 percent,” Pozzuoli offered.
Miller suggested the city create a parks and recreation board.
“Most municipal and counties have a parks and recreation board. We are the only city of our size that doesn’t have it. That means the Leisure Services director and the city manager are making the decisions and they like golf and tennis and stuff our kids don’t do. We don’t have little league baseball. Port Orange just sent seven kids to major colleges playing baseball,” said Miller, adding, “Daytona doesn’t have any programs, and I think that’s a tragedy.”
The board agreed with Miller and the idea of a parks and recreation board will be presented to the city commission.
“We really need to look at our young people, our teenagers, especially during the summer.”
Juneteenth on June 19
Updates were given on the Juneteenth festival at the meeting. A banquet will be held June 19 at the 500 Club on International Speedway and the festival will be held June 21 at Cypress Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“We have a lot of entertainment lined up. We will have a lot of vendors selling both merchandise and food and we look to have a lot of people as we have in the past,” Charles Bryant added.