On April 30, 2021, The River of Lakes Heritage Corridor (ROLHC) celebrated the unveiling and dedication of its newest kiosk at the DeBary SunRail Station. The ceremony included speeches by Volusia County Chair Jeff Brower, City of DeBary Mayor Karen Chasez, SunRail Chief Operating Officer Mike Heffinger, River of Lakes Heritage Corridor Chair Cindy Sullivan, and St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance president Maggie Ardito. While the day was sunny and very hot, a large crowd participated in the celebration.
This kiosk is part of the ROLHC byway organization’s ongoing program to place interpretative kiosks at key locations along their byway. These kiosks typically feature the byway map and story on one side and information on the particular location where the individual kiosks is located on the reverse side. All information presented is consistent with the byway organization’s mission of preservation, education, and economic development.
The byway organization’s kiosk program is based on sponsorships that the have been developed with the local community. In fact, the SunRail Station kiosk had 2 major sponsors: The City of DeBary and the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance. The City of DeBary took the lead in coordinating the placement of the kiosk with SunRail, and in gaining approval for installation from all parties involved. The City used this kiosk to highlight Gemini Springs, featuring a map showing the park, historic DeBary Hall, and other unique resources close to the SunRail Station. The City of DeBary also designed and produced the kiosk structure to hold the panels commissioned by ROLHC, the city, and St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance. Alliance President Maggie Ardito worked with representatives from the City of DeBary and Volusia County to provide information for the latest trail maps of the region, with a focus on those located near the SunRail Station.
The placement of this particular kiosk is significant being located at the crossroads of the byway, trail, and the train station! SunRail promotes riders bringing their bikes on the train, and DeBary is the premiere location to get off the SunRail for a scenic ride. The trails through Debary, right along the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor, are some of the most stunning in the state and include two springs within cycling distance of the commuter rail station.
This project would have been impossible without the dynamic and flexible partnerships the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor byway organization has developed in the past decade. The byway organization continues to find new opportunities for win-win relationships with its counties and cities, along with local main street associations, historical, cultural, and trail organizations, all of which are actively connected with the byway and understand its relevance as a lens through which people can identify different regional experiences.
Trails are a highlight for DeBary and Volusia County – and the ROLHC byway organization is helping point the way to this unique element of the byway community.
The River of Lakes Heritage Corridor is part of the collection of Florida Scenic Highways located throughout Florida. The Florida Scenic Highways Program (FSHP) highlights the best of the best in off the beaten path travel experiences throughout the state. In early 2021 the ROLHC was also selected as a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration for the regional significance of its history, heritage and natural beauty.
Additional information on this byway or the FSHP can be obtained at the following websites:
River of Lakes Heritage Corridor – A Florida Scenic Highway
Florida Scenic Highways | Homepage | Florida Scenic Highways