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Venice MainStreet Designated Florida Main Street Program of the Month

seal of florida

Florida Department of State
Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
September 08, 2009

Joan Jefferson

Venice MainStreet Designated Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning announced today that Venice MainStreet has been named the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for September 2009. Selection for this award is based on a record of active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

Although Venice MainStreet assists local businesses, the program also strives to emphasize the importance of design, organization and economic restructuring for the community, each a component of the Main Street Four-Point Approach.

“Throughout the years, Venice MainStreet has improved and expanded its commercial district by fulfilling the many needs of the community and its visitors,” commented Secretary Browning.

Venice is located south of Tampa, on the Gulf of Mexico, and is surrounded by waterways. This “island” area was originally the home of the Native American Calusas, who lived more than 12,000 years ago. The first large wave of settlers to the area started arriving in the 1800s. Beginning as a fishing and cattle-ranching village, soon evolved into a homestead for northerners who relocated to the area in the early 20th century.

In the early 1900s, the area that is now Venice was part of Chicago businesswoman Bertha Honore Palmer’s 60,000 acre tract. In 1925, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers acquired nearly 3,000 acres of this land in a move to increase the union's assets and holdings, and retained world-renowned city planner John Nolen to design the City of Venice on the Gulf. In 1927, the City of Venice was incorporated and with the completion of the Tamiami Trail in 1928, Venice was connected to Tampa and Miami by a two-lane road.

The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus made Venice its winter headquarters in 1960, and with the construction of the Intracoastal Waterway in the 1960s, Venice became the “island” that it is today. Venice’s great location near picturesque beaches adds to the area’s appeal.

Today, the beautiful palm tree-lined downtown showcases plenty of shopping and restaurants, and is just minutes away from prime fishing and boating activities. The Venice Train Depot, built by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in 1927, is a popular place of interest. Since the depot’s restoration, the Venice Area Historical Society offers tours along the Venetian Waterway Trailhead. Another downtown community feature is the award-winning Venice Little Theater.

Some of the major events organized by Venice MainStreet include the Art Fest, Downtown Art Classic, Sidewalk Sales, Miami Avenue Craft Fair, and the Christmas Walk. Free concerts at the Centennial Park Gazebo bring together members of the community every month.

Since designation as a Florida Main Street Program in 1988, Venice MainStreet has seen community benefits from reinvestment of over $214 million in public and private funds toward downtown revitalization and rehabilitation. Venice has also gained a net of 182 new businesses and 439 new jobs. Venice MainStreet continues to preserve the historic character and charm of the area and provides support for the community’s economic vitality and growth.

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 historic 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 Venice MainStreet, contact K.C. Quaretti-Lee at 941.484.6722 or visit the organization’s Web site at www.venicemainstreet.com.

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