Deland, FL- Home to Florida’s oldest private college Stetson University

Deland was founded in 1876, and was named for its founder, Henry DeLand who also founded Stetson University, Florida’s oldest private college. After a killing freeze destroyed the central Florida’s orange crop, DeLand entrusted the academy to his friend John B. Stetson, a wealthy hat manufacturer from Philadelphia. The Town steadily grew and reached 7,000 residents by 1940. Deland hosts some great historic architecture, especially stucco Mediterranean Revival architecture often designed by native architect Medwin Peek.

Historic Deland has held up well even with rapid suburban growth on its fringes. The city now has over 30,000 souls. Much investment has gone into main street and downtown helping to create an attractive and vibrant core. Major areas for Deland to improve from an urban perspective include better density, public transit access, and converting transitioning its more auto centric commercial districts to be pedestrian friendly. 
Click here to view my Deland album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Well invested Dwtn area complete with filled storefronts and great streetscaping.
* Great historic architecture especially Dwtn.
* Sidewalks and ADA Infrastructure is great  in Dwtn and Stetson University. Hit or miss in the historic residential streets where sidewalks are often missing and curb ramps are not up to ADA standards.
* Excellent street connectivity.
* Nice dedicated bike lane running the lengths of Historic Deland. No bike sharing system.
* Great generational diversity with around 60% family households. Excellent racial and economic diversity as well.
* Good supply of rentals with one-bedrooms leasing btwn $800-$1,000, 2-bedrooms in the low $1,000s, and 3-bedrooms in the high $1,000s.
* Great diversity of for-sale prices points starting around 50K all the way to 500K.
* Good mix of parks and amenities including several nice Downtown plazas, a major sports complex, Christholm Center, Painter Bond, the Bill Deggors Museum Complex, and the greenspaces of Stetson University.
* Culturally a great array of restaurants, cafes, and bars Dwtn, art galleries, the Athens historic theater and good array of local museums including Deland House Museum, Gillespie Science Museum, Museum of Art-Deland, African American Arts Museum, and the Bill” Dreggors Historic Site.
* Good array of neighborhood retails esp. Dwtn including a hardware store, several grocery stores and smaller ethnic grocers, public library, banks, a couple bookstores, and lots of boutiques and specialty stores.
* Mix of quality private and public schools within the historic core.
* Great tree canopy throughout Deland. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Pretty low density for an urban area, but this is pretty typical for the south.
* Outside of Downtown the commercial corridors are semi-auto centric. Amelia Street is primarily auto centric.
* Dwtn is vibrant but the rest of Deland is pretty quiet due to its low density
* Poor public transit.
* Decent amount of jobs in Deland as it is a county seat and hosts Stetson University. 30 minute drive (50 min bus ride) to Dayton Beach and 45 drive to Orland.
* Crime a bit above the National average and still plenty of blight throughout.

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