NEWS-TRIBUNE

Article published in the Daytona Beach News-Tribune, April 8, 1989

It was back in 1968 when Flagler County caught the development eye of ITT Corporation

By Debra Johnson

PALM COAST – Flagler County’s largest development continues to draw new residents and industry to the area 20 years after the project began.

This East Coast county caught the attention of ITT Corporation in 1969 when 10 subsidiary companies were formed expressly to purchase the 68,000 acres from 35 major landowners. Among those owners were ITT Rayonier, Wadsworth Land Company and Lehigh Cement Company.

Two years after a welcome center, offices and model homes had been constructed in the planned development, ITT Community Development was formed. The current plans call for about 48,000 homesites on about 42,000 acres which were developed in 1974.

The golf oriented community saw the first nine hole course at Palm Harbor Golf Course start in 1971 along with the first residential home construction.

A second nine holes of golf was added in 1073 after the Harbour Restaurant and the Palm Harbor Swim Club was completed with the first Palm Coast residents arriving in January of 1972.

Progress continued with the construction of a convenience store, offices, a volunteer fire department and a contract post office to serve the first residents of what would become a booming development.

In 1974, the Shangri La Condominiums on Palm Coast Parkway were built along with the oceanfront Sheraton Palm Coast Resort which was relocated in 1987 to a site west of the Intracoastal Waterway.

By the next year, the Flagler County Commission had formed the East Flagler Service District which was a dependent taxing district that provided a number of services to Palm Coast residents. A second taxing district was formed in 1976 by the state legislature to provide fire protection and emergency services.

The two districts were combined in 1982 to make the Palm Coast Service District which covers the entire development.

A 23 mile saltwater canal system was approved by the Corps of Engineers in 1976 for completion by ICDC and during that same year, the state legislature gave its approval and created the Palm Coast Fire District to provide fire protection and emergency services to "core" area residents.

The following year, ICDC moved its offices from Miami to Palm Coast and in 1978, the ICDC Palm Coast corporate headquarters were permanently relocated to the development.

A major step in the development of Palm Coast was the opening of the Palm Harbor Shopping Center which today remains a major shopping hub of residents throughout the county.

With the growing golf oriented community, ICDC constructed the Pine Lakes Country Club course in 1980 with a $1.8 million country club coming a year later.

The newest golf course opened in 1985 when duffers hit the links at Matanzas Wood Golf Course.

Commercial growth continue to surge after Racal Decca Marine became the first company to locate in ICDC’s industrial park in 1977. The move was followed in 1980 when the Witteman Company opened its world headquarters in the Pine Lakes Commerce/Industrial Par.

Olde St. Augustine Ovens, Inc. was the first tenant in the Palm Coast Industrial Park followed by Cardiac Control Systems, Inc.’s move to the Pine Lakes industrial park in 1982.

Occupation of the industrial parks has continued to grow with the latest tenant being Contemporary Machine and another industrial park slated to open this year.

Recreational interest continue to be a prime mover of the developer and in 1986, the Palm Coast Players Club opened on Palm Coast Parkway east. The project is a 16 court all surface tennis complex.

During the same year, the community experienced an economic boost with the construction of the Federal Aviation Administration Management Training School.

As ICDC continued its development plan, Palm Coast was linked to The Hammock area of Flagler County with the opening, in 1988, of a high rise bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. The toll bridge provides quick access to beaches for Palm Coast residents and shorter shopping trips for Hammock residents.

Shopping centers continue to spring up in the development. During 1988, two additional phases of the St. Joe Plaza were completed.

As a result of the growing population, the Flagler County Commission, which also sits as the Palm Coast Service District, approved construction of a second fire station for the development.

The new station on Belle Terre Parkway is expected to open by the summer and will replace the current fire station on Palm Coast Parkway as the main station.

Another major progress milestone was the completed construction and opening of a new post office on Pine Cone Drive off Palm Coast Parkway in the Fall of 1988. The formerly contracted post office in the Palm Harbor Shopping Center was closed in late 1988 to coincide with the opening of the new facility.

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