The city of New Smyrna Beach (NSB) is a coastal community of Volusia County. Locals live, work and play all while soaking up NSB’s laid back lifestyle. Visitors come to enjoy fun outdoor experiences like strolling on miles of seaside boardwalk and relaxing on beautiful white-sand beaches. The city’s coastal neighborhoods are located along North America’s most diverse estuary, the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. Canaveral National Seashore is available for everyone to explore pristine dune, hammock and lagoon habitats.
According to the National Recreation and Parks Association, parks and recreation have three values that make them essential to communities: economic value, health and environmental benefits and social importance. The city of NSB’s Park Division, along with the city commission, is taking a proactive approach to managing its public green spaces and is working from a Parks Master Plan. The plan includes recommendations in order to keep the city’s parks clean, safe and usable for everyone to enjoy.
Just as water, sewer and public safety are considered essential public services, parks are vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in a community, ensuring the health of families and youth, and contributing to the environmental well-being of a community and region.
Best Parks in New Smyrna Beach, and Those that Need Improvement
On April 12, 2022, at the regular city commission meeting, the final plan for parks in New Smyrna Beach was presented and reviewed. The project goal for the Parks Master Plan is to serve as a guide that will facilitate future growth and achieve the city’s goals for creating and maintaining the long-term investment in its parks systems. According to the report, NSB’s population grew in 2000 to 2020 by approximately 30 percent from 22,438 to 29,073.
Recently, a public survey was conducted for the city asking which city parks are the best parks. The top three results are 27th Avenue, Indian River Lagoon Park and Riverside Park. The survey also asked the community which parks are in need of improvement. The top three results are Callalisa Park, North Causeway Boat Ramp and Rocco Park and Multi-Use Trail.
New Smyrna Beach’s Plan to Improve, Maintain and Revitalize Parks
All of NSB’s 35 parks were reviewed and scored for the Parks Master Plan. The guiding principles are to enhance what NSB has, expand the reach to locals and visitors and then connect all together including neighborhood/destination parks and multi-use trail segments.
Enhancement levels were categorized into three groups: maintenance (less than $50,000), minor improvements ($50,000 – $100,000) and major improvements ($100,000 or more). In regards to the top three city parks, 27th Avenue was marked as “good condition” and “maintain” was recommended moving forward. Callalisa Park is marked as “poor” condition and in need of “major improvements.”
For the future, five neighborhood park locations were recommended for the following areas: Fairway area, Pioneer Trail, Saxon Drive Linear Park, Atlantic Arts Park and Smyrna Dunes Parklet. These locations have flexible space, can connect multiple neighborhoods and provide access to water and natural areas. Five community parks were also proposed for the following locations: South mainland along State Road 44, Glencoe Paige, Westside North and South and Marine Discovery Center Park. These areas have large open spaces, offer mix facility types, serve multiple neighborhoods and have existing natural, historic features.
Communities who pride themselves on their quality of life, promote themselves as a desirable location to relocate, and maintain that they are environmental stewards of their natural resources, all have a robust, active system of parks and recreation programs for public use and enjoyment. NSB’s city commission, comprehensive plan, budget and Planning and Zoning department will need to collaborate for the best policy actions in order to implement these recommendations.
Copies of the Parks Master Plan can be requested at CityofNSB.com under “public records request” from the city clerk’s office.