Sanford, FL. Water Taxi Idea: There are Worse Ways to Spend Time and Money… But Not Many.

Sanford Florida’s esteemed leaders, such as Mayor Jeff Triplett, are currently devoting time, taxpayer dollars, and energy into researching new and exciting transportation services for the downtown Sanford, Florida area.  Some of the current transportation services offered, the trolley service from the Sun Rail Station to the downtown area and the “Mean Green” golf cart taxi service, are fantastic. These options were relatively low-cost, and, in the case of the taxi service, are privately held company options.

Got a love the entrepreneurial drive and the city’s support for small businesses!  As we know, Downtown Sanford is built on small businesses!

However, the current idea for implementing a water taxi service from South Volusia County to the downtown area of Sanford, Florida fails on numerous levels.  Lets start by reviewing the concept proposed, as noted on the Orlando Sentinel and WESH 2 News, and the perceived benefits.

The Problem the Sanford FL. Water Taxi Seeks to Solve.

The proposed water taxi service would connect South Volusia County with the Downtown Sanford, FL. area.  Any business, or tax funded project, for that matter, in my most humble of opinion, should be driven by the problem the project or business is seeking to be mitigate.  In this case, the water taxi service concept may possibly reduce parking problems, improve access to the downtown area, and lessen traffic congestion.

Benefits of a Water Taxi Service in Sanford, FL.

With this foundation set, let us go ahead and first address the benefits of a water taxi service in Sanford Florida.  First, the water taxi service will let visitors enjoy a scenic route, across Lake Monroe, before enjoying Sanford Florida’s antique dealers and amazing restaurants/bars.

A second benefit would be that parking and traffic during major events, such as the Fourth of July and various festivals, may be slightly improved.  Personally, I thoroughly enjoy visiting each and every festival in downtown Sanford. A little bit less traffic and better parking is not a make or break concept for me.  Still, less is definitely better.

Challenges to the Water Taxi Service Connecting Sanford, FL. with Deltona, FL.

As you probably already figured, I’m going to present some arguments about why the water taxi service from Deltona, Florida to Downtown Sanford. Florida is moronic in the best of light and downright stupid when a small business owner perspective is applied.

Increased Waterway Traffic on Lake Monroe, FL.

My biggest concern is the increased water vehicle traffic on Lake Monroe.  From an environmental perspective, increased motor vehicle traffic on Lake Monroe will inevitably introduce more pollutants into the water.  Just consider, each and every time the water taxi is fueled, there is a chance of gasoline entering the water.  I'm not sure how many of y’all have drank gasoline, but the fish, alligators, manatees in the lake would probably prefer freshwater.

Manatees in Lake Monroe

Another issue with increased vehicle traffic on Lake Monroe would be the dangers to manatees.  On multiple occasions, I have walked along the shores of Lake Monroe and have enjoyed the sight of manatees dining on the sea grass near shore.

An amazing sight to see.

Unfortunately, the slow-moving mammals may have difficulty with avoiding yet another motorized vehicle with slicing propeller blades as a desert to the bludgeon impact of a water taxi hull.

Shit View (Old Wolfy’s Building)

Over the years, I have dined at Wolfy's many of times.  Loved their cheesesteak, if I remember correctly.  However, let’s face it, the Wolfy’s on the water building has seen better days.  From a small business owners’ perspective, this is definitely not the first site that I want a visitor to see.  Probably not the last site either, as they are leaving.

Parking and traffic really not that Bad.

My family and I have visited a multitude of festivals in the Downtown Sanford area, as well as, attended more than a few fireworks event over the years.  During these times, granted, traffic does become a little bit congested and parking is definitely at a premium.  However, even during the busiest of festivals, my family and I have yet to walk more than a few blocks to arrive at the festivities (Except for Fourth of July… this is a once a year issue and not worth the tax dollars to for a water taxi).

Federal, State, AND Coast Guard Approval for Water Taxi

Based on research related to the concept, Sanford and Deltona’s city officials have been working on this concept since at least 2012.  Still, the city officials claim that the idea is far off.  Seven years of work and still more to do.  Further, tax dollars need to be spent on regulation approval from the federal government, state government, and the Coast Guard.  Cha-ching, Cha-ching, and Cha-ching (more and more money spent).  Seems like a lot of hassle for little benefit.

Walk too far to Downtown Sanford and it’s “Feel Good” Mile (Bars and restaurants) on Sanford Ave.

Most of the restaurants and shops in Downtown Sanford are located on First Street and between First Street and Fifth Street, on Sanford Ave.  This means that visitors would need to walk between 4 to 6 blocks in order to reach their destination from the shores of Lake Monroe.  That is a lot of walking for the average family... in Florida’s heat... while praying to goodness that our afternoon rain showers will take a day off.  Might as well will give each person a lottery ticket, they would have a better chance of winning big than avoiding all of Florida’s weather-related stumbling blocks, on a consistent basis.

Missed Sales for Small Businesses

Here is an idea, utilize Downtown Sanford’s festivals and attractions for the benefit of ALL Sanford’s businesses. Let us hypothesize for a moment that the Sanford-Deltona Water Taxi idea is a hit. This would mean that people would be parking in South Volusia county and then traveling to downtown Sanford.  So, just before reaching their parking spot, in South Volusia, visitors will be spending money in Deltona for snacks, gas, and other travel needs, as compared to Sanford locations. Not only is this a bad idea for Sanford small businesses, but not a great deal for tax dollars Sanford either.

A Better Idea… If you REALLY want a Water Taxi…

In summary, the water taxi idea connecting Sanford, FL. with Deltona, FL. is pretty stupid to say the least.  Not only are we losing tax dollars by shipping visitors to a different county but also opportunities for small businesses to sell complementary goods or services is lost.  Not to mention, or at least re-mentioned, the inevitable environmental impact to Lake Monroe and its hosted critters.

BUT, if Sanford elected officials really, really, really wants a water taxi, then why not add additional stops near apartment complexes along the lake, the Central Florida Zoo, as well as the South Volusia stop. This way, residents of Sanford Florida will receive elevated benefits, while still addressing parking and traffic concerns.

Published Books by Paul Borosky, Owner, MBA., Doctoral Candidate