DeBary’s next upscale neighborhood is in the making.

Rivington, formerly known as Fort Florida Commons, sits atop agricultural land with some frontage along the St. Johns River.

The rural setting on the south end of DeBary combines a former cattle ranch with part of undeveloped Old Florida, where 278 acres are becoming a 700-home community.

“I think it will really be a special place,” Dean Barberree, the developer of Rivington, said as he joined others for an April 9 groundbreaking. “A lot of people have helped get us to this point.”

Breaking ground

THROWING DIRT — Wielding gold shovels, people with leading interests in the planning and actual development of Rivington mark the start of the creation of the neighborhood’s amenities center. From left are Sharon Hauber, of Hauber Design; Kimberly Locher, vice president of Reader Communities; Jeff Reader, vice president of Reader Communities; Mayor Karen Chasez; Dean Barberree, president of Reader Communities; Steve Costa, original owner of the land; DeBary Vice Mayor Phyllis Butlien; and City Council Member Jim Pappalardo.

Barberree is president of Reader Communities, the Orlando company overseeing the infrastructure layout and homebuilding in Rivington.

That infrastructure includes a network of trails for walking, running and cycling. The trails, he and others noted, have been a seeking point for Rivington.

Located west of the DeBary SunRail depot and U.S. Highway 17-92, Rivington will retain some of its wilderness acreage in conservation, while still offering its settlers connectivity to their workplaces, shopping and recreation spots.

DeBary Mayor Karen Chasez noted Rivington is attractive to “young, active professionals” who like the outdoors, but do not wish to spend a great deal of time and effort maintaining a lawn.

Mayor Chasez

HAILING NEW AND COMING NEIGHBORS — DeBary Mayor Karen Chasez joins the ceremony to break ground for Rivington’s amenities center. “We look forward to the continued success of Rivington,” Chasez told the crowd assembled for the festivities.

Rivington thus fits into the south end of DeBary, which is poised to become a downtown hub of retailing, restaurants, offices, events and gatherings that may draw visitors from around the region and around the country, according to the city's visionaries.

Rivington was first proposed in 2015 by Steve Costa, who owns much of the land in and around what is now Rivington.

Costa described the development as an “agrihood,” where homeowners could plant a community garden.

Amenities center

THE GATHERING PLACE — This artist’s rendering shows what Rivington’s amenities center will look like when completed. Besides a community swimming pool, there will be a meeting room and outdoor dining areas.