The City of DeLand has adopted a Strategic Plan that verbally describes actions, to achieve or maintain the City as a desirable place to live with “a strong sense of community.” There are four guiding principles or core values contained in the Strategic Plan and these are presented below. They will be used to help formulate the vision for the City.
COMMUNITY. We will develop and implement programs and services that enhance the small town atmosphere and quality of life in DeLand by maintaining and / or developing:
- a community of beautiful and safe neighborhoods, all with easily accessible public space, green space~and~bike and pedestrian friendly design;
- a culturally diverse community that values its diversity;
- a core community distinguished by its historic downtown, trees, Stetson University, and older, well maintained homes;
- downtown events that bring people together for a wide range of recreational, cultural, and intellectual events;
- a high level of citizen participation in the community, particularly in cross-generational, multi-cultural projects; ~
- infrastructure that provides interconnection between all community neighborhoods;
- services or infrastructure which help our community and residents remain healthy and mobile.
EDUCATION. We will support comprehensive educational opportunities that provide our citizens with tools for their well being by:
- recognizing the critical importance that education and work skills play in ensuring we can have the quality community we want;
- advocating for our educational institutions to meet the lifelong learning needs of our residents, our employers and our employees;
- advocating family and parenting skill development as the building blocks of education;
- advocating quality educational opportunities for all residents as a lifelong pursuit;
- advocating vocational programs that meet the needs of employers and employees;
- providing community education about government;
- advocating a community with advanced technology that supports the enhancement of education and the economy.
ECONOMY. Recognizing that a healthy economy promotes our success, we will:
- foster an entrepreneurial environment that supports local and start up businesses;
- have a sustainable growth policy requiring the wise use of fiscal and natural resources;
- foster an economy that encourages diverse and economically rewarding job opportunities for all, resulting in a strong tax base;
- foster an economy that takes advantage of our regional location, transportation connections and airport;
- develop an economic infrastructure that supports local, regional and global business practices;
- seek out active partners in regional economic development;
- emphasize and promote Ecological, Cultural, Heritage, and Outdoors [ECHO] Tourism;
- develop or advocate for transportation and mobility options that support economic activity.
HISTORY. DeLand is identified as the “Athens of Florida.” That heritage started with the City’s Founder, Henry A. DeLand. Henry DeLand’s goal was to create a town dedicated to the advancement of education and culture, much like the Athens of Greece. To this end, he started the DeLand Academy, which became Stetson University and in fulfillment of his dream, DeLand has been a center for culture and education. Recognizing that our future is guided by our heritage, we will:
- our historic downtown
- Stetson University
- our neighborhoods
- our other historic areas;
- encourage historic preservation and restoration efforts;
- advocate for flexible development standards for historic properties;
- encourage new development that complements the historic character of the core community;
- encourage functional reuse of historic buildings while maintaining the historic character of the community;
- support programs that emphasize and promote the historic attributes of the community.
The guiding principles are reinforced by the strategies of the following major focus areas (modified from original plan, refer to complete Strategic Plan for more detail):
Regional high value job creation - This strategy acknowledges that DeLand is part of an economic region and when the region benefits, DeLand benefits, by emphasizing the desired end resulting in high value jobs.
Institute Smart Growth principles - To manage growth, the City will need to institute a number of smart growth principles.
Preserving “Sense of Community” in the core city as a key asset - The term “sense of community” has been highly valued as a distinctive DeLand asset. The term is most often associated with downtown, the historic district, Stetson, and the old city grid. It is this core city identity that citizen’s want to maintain and preserve. This distinctiveness is critically important in the New Economy where sense of place is a highly valued asset.
Creating the connected community - It is the connections between the focus areas identified so far which will create the economic dynamism and the community vibrancy desired by the citizenry.
High value government - To support the combination of high value jobs and sense of community a high value government must be fostered.
Communication - To maintain a high level of both internal communication within the City Government as well as ensure a two-way flow of information between the City Government and the citizens.
Preparing for the Future - Recognizing that the City itself is dynamic and that extensive changes will occur in the region in the near and long term future, it is important that there be a strategic focus on the future.