Anyone who has ever been to SunRail’s DeBary station knows that there’s almost nothing there, with the exception of a well-worn convenience store and a mobile home park.
Now after almost a year of SunRail passenger operations a developer has floated the idea of putting a horse track or a card room (yes gambling) near the train station. Seriously?
What’s worse, in a recent interview with our friends at the Daytona Beach News Journal, DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson said a card room or horse track would be “a unique opportunity for DeBary.”
Unique indeed. When it comes to economic development, the gambling business is a terrible idea. Don’t take our word for it, just take a quick trip to Atlantic City, N.J. where 4 of 12 casinos closed last year. Atlantic City has one of the highest unemployment rates in the city. Let’s not even get into the negative elements (crime, drugs, hookers) that are attracted to gambling establishments.
The good news is that DeBary’s land-development code currently prohibits gambling businesses. That ban needs to be kept in place.
The vacant, and underutilized land near the DeBary SunRail station isn’t a curse, it’s an opportunity to develop something really great to benefit DeBary, Volusia County and SunRail riders.
A horse track or a card room is bad for DeBary, bad for SunRail and bad for Central Florida.