Ormond Beach has created a new public art program
The downtown Ormond Beach area could become even more vibrant in the near future.
At its meeting on Tuesday, November 16, the city commission approved the creation of a public art program in the downtown area in a 4-1 vote.
The creation of the program was born out of the city’s 2019 Downtown Master Plan, in which improving the area’s environment was a top priority. It has already been allowed to appear on murals in companies, such as the one at Ormond Garage at 28 W. Granada Blvd. However, the approved law will allow murals in public places. It also creates a new advisory board: Ormond Arts County Council.
City Commissioner Dwight Selby said that ordinance would be coming a long time ago.
“I’m excited for this to continue,” Selby said. “Decorate our sign boxes and all the other potential public art projects to come in the near future.”
City Commissioner Rob Littleton cast the only vote against the ordinance to create the program. He said he would have endorsed it two years ago, but now he fears the art program will cause problems for the city down the road.
“Just last year, there’s been a whole year of people protesting public art,” Littleton said. “This was mostly because of the statues, but it’s public art, and I really think we’re opening a can of worms here.”
According to the decree, “public art must be requested, commissioned by the city, gifted, or donated.” The city will also pay for it, unless it is donated. It also retains control over the power to accept, reject, modify, repair, transfer or remove art.
If the donation is not made, city employees indicated in a memo that the art could be funded with tax increase funding funds.
Employees demand higher wages
Ormond Beach resident and employee Ed Wilson, president of the Public Employees Union, highlighted an ongoing problem within the Department of Public Works: Low wages lead to a shortage of workers.
“Ormond Beach has become a training ground for neighboring cities,” Wilson said.
A second maintenance worker is paid $11.97 an hour, while the city of Daytona Beach offers $15 an hour for the same position; The city of Palm Coast offers $15.46. Wilson added that one department of public works has taken in 20 employees in the past two years. Another switched to 12 hour shifts due to staff shortages.
Mayor Bill Partington said the city will likely discuss these issues at a shadow meeting in January.
A bid will be issued for the pier project
The city committee voted 3-2 to apply for $2.28 million for the Granada Boulevard Streetscape Sidewalk Banding Repair Project. Commissioners Susan Persis and Rob Littleton voted against it, as going out to bid would delay the project’s schedule.
The project will be funded using Community Redevelopment Agency dollars, which can only be spent within the CRA.
The panel also chose the ranges “Etruscan Tile” favored by Ormond MainStreet rather than “Mesa Beige,” in their Oct. 5 vote.