Since November of 2017, Main Street has started work in earnest. Our mission is to focus on historic preservation and to ensure the economic vitality of downtown. At the recent state Main Street conference, held this year in Vero Beach, Director Arlene Filkoff found that those cities who have the most successful programs also have the closest working partnership with their local governments. We certainly have that here thanks to city government’s understanding that the goal of Main Street is also the goal of our city. Many department goals intersect with Main Street and that makes for close working relationships.
The Main Street district is from Ash to Alachua and from the waterfront to 8th Street. We have used the spirit and drive of a project done by visionaries in the late 1970’s to renovate downtown and take advantage of our beautiful historic architecture. Those visionaries knew as they restored the courthouse, gave Centre Street a new path, and promoted the location of the library downtown as a magnet, downtown is the soul of our community and speaks volumes about who we are and what we value.
Your Main Street program has been quite successful in attracting many volunteers who love the downtown and are willing to either roll up their sleeves and do physical work or pull up their chairs and help us with ideas for marketing, planning and design. But we could always use more!
Your Main Street program has:
• Developed a landscaping plan through Spring of 2019.
• Designed a butterfly garden, a wall from old Centre Street bricks, (anyone have any you would like to donate?), and a mural competition. Much of this project is in partnership with the FBHS Key Club.
• Contracted with a design consultant on a Wayfinding project for downtown to assist visitors in knowing where they can park, what businesses we have, and perhaps even including how many calories they might burn off walking our beautiful streets.
• Agreed to launch a mobile application to assist visitors to find their way around while also receiving sale/special notifications from participating businesses.
• Developed a funding strategy which will allow any and all people to contribute to your Main Street program.
• Started replacing the worn and difficult to maintain benches throughout downtown.
• Defined and sponsored several events which help to bring business downtown. Don’t miss Peg Leg Pete’s 40 birthday coming up on October 6 in the afternoon. There will be cake!!
• Begun gathering data to present possible uses for the city-owned Wade Vuturo property on the waterfront.
• Identified three major infrastructure projects for downtown which will require integrated planning and careful implementation, again in concert with the City’s plans for work like Storm Water.
We are all the fortunate heirs of the legacy of those who came before us downtown. Your Main Street program will help us all take great care of what they left us while we show respect for their willingness to do it.
What we need right now is folks who recognize downtown as both the community soul for any of several contributions. If you have specific skills or are interested in assisting with labor, coordination, administrative support, etc, we need you.
If you are interested in contributing financially, we REALLY need you. One way is to buy one of the memorial benches for downtown.
If you would like to buy a bench, or if you want to make a donation to what we’re doing, or if you want to help out, please contact Arlene Filkoff at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 904-583-8629.