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from unfunded local sidewalk to fully funded national trail

the sweetheart trail

The problem: an unfunded $500,000 sidewalk

Filling in gaps in a riverfront sidewalk was one of the critical needs identified at a Daytona Beach City Commission Transportation Strategy Workshop. After the workshop, PSC was asked to find funding for the $487,000 unfunded sidewalk.

pivotal discovery causes strategic repositioning

After detailed research, we discovered that the sidewalk followed the East Coast Greenway Trail alignment – a 3,000 mile “urban version of the Appalachian Trail” that ran along the east coast from Maine to Key West. We immediately began to ‘strategically reposition’ the project. No physical aspects of the project had changed – the location was the same. The need was the same.

However, the emotional connection to the project was drastically changed by the understanding that it was part of this nationally significant, 3,000 mile destination trail. This emotional connection expanded the opportunity for partnerships and funding. At that moment, our entire strategy shifted. Instead of being focused on what we were hired to do (get grants to fund the $487k sidewalk) we focused on what we knew needed to be done, creating a branded destination that identified the project as part of a national destination trail.

Story in hand, we strategically pursued and successfully obtained the official designation as an East Coast Greenway Trail Segment in April 2013 and as a priority trail in the Florida Greenways & Trails System Plan in June 2013.

expanded vision creates opportunity for major funding

In 2014, grant funding obtained by PSC began to roll in and the city leaders, along with PSC, visited Greenville SC to see the Swamp Rabbit Trail and expand their vision of what our new destination trail could be. The trail was expanded to 7 miles and 16 grants were obtained for the 10 segments totaling $2.8 million.

In 2015, the state legislature established a new recurring funding source for trails that required projects to be designated as priority trails in the Florida Greenways & Trails System Plan to be eligible for funding. Since the trail had been designated in 2013, it meant the City’s trail would be eligible to receive the new funding. In 2016 the city’s trail was prioritized by the state to receive full funding in the inaugural year of the new funding source.

Connecting People to the Place

The vision for the trail was expanded with input from the community. PSC, working with the city, stakeholders, and collaborators used strategic branding and storytelling to weave the history of the waterfront into the fabric of the trail.  The intent was to make users feel connected to the space and the city’s story. Key waterfront destinations (day docks, City Island, Manatee Island, 3 marinas, water recreation opportunities, 5 waterfront parks) were identified and physically connected to the trail – and to each other via the trail.

Sweetheart Trail Success Story-01.jpg
Sweetheart Trail Success Story-02.jpg
"We have a gorgeous Riverfront Park, but you don't see throngs of people there, and we should...we have so many great assets. It will get done and it will get done right. It's all about how the visitor feels. It won't be the same old, same old. It needs to look and feel different."

Beth Gibson, President

Planning Solutions Corp

Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Big Plans for Riverfront" 1/5/17

Perseverance -
PSC's Long-Term Commitment to Implementation

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sweetheart trail history video

PSC developed a video to educate and excite the community about the new destination trail and connect them to the place through storytelling.

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