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Secretary of State Announces Kissimmee Main Street as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

seal of florida

Florida Department of State
Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
February 03, 2009

Contact:
Joan Jefferson
245.6345
jsjefferson@dos.state.fl.us

Secretary of State Announces Kissimmee Main Street as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning announced today that Kissimmee Main Street has been designated as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for February 2009. As a Florida Main Street Community, designated in 1997, Kissimmee maintains a strong program that takes pride in revitalization and historic preservation. Communities are selected for this award based on active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

“Kissimmee Main Street has been an exemplary program with exceptional leadership and community involvement,” said Secretary Browning. “Residents and visitors alike benefit from the success of this revitalization effort which has so enhanced the city’s downtown.”

Kissimmee is well known for its nearby amusement parks and outdoor recreation opportunities. Incorporated in 1883, the city’s thriving downtown offers ample pedestrian shopping areas, rehabilitated historic buildings, and provides a venue for community events and celebrations.

Kissimmee Main Street, along with the Downtown Kissimmee Area Council and the Osceola County Historical Society, has embraced the community’s 124-year history and heritage as an agricultural and ranching center. In addition to its role as Florida’s cattle capital, in the late 1800s the city became a shipbuilding hub when developer Hamilton Disston dredged the Kissimmee River and established his headquarters in Kissimmee. For the next 40 years steamboats chugged from Lake “Toho” (Tohopekaliga) and downtown Kissimmee, to the Gulf, and on to ports on the Atlantic and Gulf waters and Cuba. The opening of Dixie Highway in 1916 linked Florida with the rest of the nation, marking the end of Kissimmee’s steamboat shipping trade and the beginning of sprawl development and eventual dormancy for downtown.

Since its designation as a Florida Main Street Community, Kissimmee’s downtown has experienced an exciting rebirth with 285 construction and rehabilitation projects totaling more than $26 million worth of investment, over 175 businesses have opened and 418 new jobs. In addition, volunteers have donated over 9,000 hours of their time to meetings and events.

On Saturday, February 14, Kissimmee Main Street will host the Kiss-im-mee 5K charity event and will donate portions of the proceeds to the American Heart Association. Participants of all ages will run through historic downtown Kissimmee and nearby neighborhoods. Awards will be presented to the top three male and female finishers. On February 21, residents can take advantage of deals on all kinds of outdoor plants, lawn care and patio items, when Kissimmee Main Street holds their 4th Annual Garden Party to support the program’s ‘going green’ initiative. Kissimmee Main Street continues to develop innovative ways in which to promote their historic downtown and involve community members in all aspects of building a stronger and better city.

Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State. The Bureau conducts statewide programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, and preserving Florida's historical resources. Main Street, with its emphasis on preservation, is an effective strategy for achieving these goals in Florida's historic retail districts. Since 1985, the Bureau has offered manager training, consultant team visits, design and other technical assistance, as well as the benefit of experience gained by other Florida Main Street programs.

To learn more about Kissimmee Main Street, visit www.Kissimmeemainstreet.com or call 407.846.4643 or contact by e-mail at info@kissimmeemainstreet.com


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