In the category of unusual political maneuvers, consider this: DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson is asking Sanford residents to support a mixed-use development that would include a horse track and card room in his Volusia County city.

Proposals to build a horse track and card room on a 67-acre parcel at the corner of Dirksen Drive and U.S. 17-92 have been debated in DeBary for at least 8 years. Most recently the plan failed to gain support with the DeBary City Council in May. (read story here)

Johnson has called a special meeting for Aug. 18 at DeBary City Hall to again discuss the project, which the mayor calls “the biggest development opportunity in DeBary’s history.”

Located across the street from the Debary SunRail station, Johnson says the mixed-use project would be an economic engine for the city that would bring upscale restaurants and stores. He also claims the development would allow Debary to host a Sanford-like Alive After 5 festival.

So why does Johnson want the support of Sanford residents? In a post on the Facebook group “Sanford 32771, 32773, 32746,” Johnson says a horse track and card room would benefit Sanford’s downtown.

He doesn’t elaborate on how the development would benefit Sanford, and has not yet responded to questions about the benefits for the Celery City. For that matter, Johnson hasn’t made clear why DeBary elected officials would consider the wishes of Sanford citizens. When Johnson responds, I’ll post his answers.

– By Dan Ping

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