Florida Main Street Designation
Florida Main Street Designation

In a press release update from Community Development Director Adrienne Burke  it is reported that Fernandina Beach’s prestigious designation as a Florida Main Street community is well on its way. Being a Florida Main Street will enable Fernandina Beach to create greater economic stability, revitalization, sustainability, vitality, quality of life and civic pride through the historic downtown, the press release states.

What has happened since the designation?

The official organization, Fernandina Beach Main Street, Inc., has been formed with a Board of Directors and is seeking 501(c)(6) status. Establishing a separate non-profit board is typical of most Main Street communities. There are eleven Board members including: Chair Marisol Triana (Hola Cuban Café), Vice-Chair Adrienne Burke (City of Fernandina Beach), Secretary Regina Duncan (Chamber of Commerce), Treasurer Bobby Ferreira (Century 21), Ashley Phinazee (Colie’s), Steve Colwell (Fantastic Fudge), Arlene Filkoff (Community Redevelopment Area Advisory Board), Susan Mowery (Amelia Island-Fernandina Restoration Foundation), Bob Ramshaw (Hampton Inn), Gil Langley (Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau), and Laura DiBella (Nassau County Economic Development Board). Several members of the Board are also members of the Historic Fernandina Business Association. The initial Board terms are three years.

The first order of action for the Board in addition to establishing Board bylaws and procedures has been to solicit applicants for the position of Main Street Executive Director. Fifty-seven applicants from around the country applied for the position, and a hiring committee of the Board is working on final candidates to bring to the full Board for a decision. It is hoped the Executive Director will be on the ground in October. Citizens State Bank at 715 Centre Street has graciously donated office space to house the director’s office, and has made their conference room available for board and committee meetings.

Additionally, sponsors who have contributed to supporting the Main Street program are being contacted with updates and will be provided necessary organizational information for purposes of making contributions. The Main Street Board is extremely appreciative of sponsor support and community enthusiasm. It is anticipated that sponsors will receive recognition as promotional and outreach materials are created.

The Board is working on a website and creating a mailing list over the next month. Events and updates on the program will be added to the website, in addition to information on Board and committee meetings. Fernandina Beach Main Street already has a presence on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.
Also, part of the Main Street program involves technical assistance from the state. On October 6, the Florida Main Street Coordinator, Ronni Wood, will be visiting Fernandina Beach for the first site visit of the program.
In January, a technical team is planned to visit to assist with framing the program work around the four National Main Street goals:
• promotion,
• design,
• economic restructuring, and
• organization.
This technical work will help establish the priorities for the Fernandina Beach Main Street program.

How can you get involved?

Right now, the Board is issuing a call to action for volunteers who are needed to form committees around the four program goals. The committees are an active part of making the Main Street a success, and should expect to commit at least 8-10 hours a month on the committee. If you have the time and interest, please email Regina Duncan at regina@aifby.com and indicate which committee you are interested in: promotion, design, economic restructuring, or organization. Information on the four goals can be found at www.mainstreet.org under “4 Point Approach.” Approximately five to seven committee members are needed for each group.

If you don’t have the time to be on a committee, stay tuned for how you may be able to volunteer. Community volunteers will be critical to implementing committee and Board action items and helping ensure Fernandina Beach Main Street is one of the best in the state!

FURTHERMORE mark your calendars to join us on Wednesday, October 7th at 5:30 at Sheffield’s and the Palace Saloon when First Coast Magazine is hosting their first annual Masquerade Soiree, featuring local food, cocktails, live music, and masks galore! Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. A portion of the event proceeds will benefit the Fernandina Beach Main Street program. Purchase tickets at www.firstcoastmag.com/masqueradesoiree.

Lastly, be sure to like us at “Fernandina Beach Main Street” on Facebook, “FernandinaBeachMainStreet” on Instagram, and use #fernandinabeachmainstreet in posts. As a non-profit, donations are welcomed to help support the mission of the program and can be given at: http://www.gofundme.com/MainStreetFB. We thank you in advance! To volunteer or sign up for the mailing list, email regina@aifby.com.
For more information on the Florida Main Street program at the Department of State, visit http://dos.myflorida.com/historical/preservation/main-street-program.

Fernandina Beach Mainstreet designation is not yet listed on the DOS website, but that seems to be less of an oversight and more of a rapidfire profilation of the local chapter.