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Main Street Zephyrhills Designated Florida Main Street Program of the Month

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Florida Department of State
Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
January 08, 2010

Joan Jefferson

Main Street Zephyrhills Designated Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning announced today that Main Street Zephyrhills has been named the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for January 2010. Selection for this award is based on a record of active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

“Because of its unwavering commitment to the preservation and revitalization of its historical resources,” remarked Secretary Browning, “I commend and applaud the efforts of Main Street Zephyrhills.”

Zephyrhills originated as a colony town planned for the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Civil War veterans who served in the Union Army. The area was initially known as Abbott, a small village platted in 1888 at Zephyrhills’ current site. Captain H.B. Jeffries of the Union Army petitioned the Stebbins Realty Company of Tampa near the turn of the 20th century to find a place in southern or central Florida with enough available land to begin a colony. Of the three sites identified by the Stebbins Company, Captain Jeffries selected a 35,000-acre parcel in southeastern Pasco County. The area was named Zephyrhills because Captain Jeffries was cooled by a pleasant breeze while initially investigating the site. The Zephyrhills Colony Company was formed in 1910 to advertise and sell the town to the northern veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic. The Zephyrhills Colony Company bought lots in the old Abbott plat and 4,510 acres from James Greer, a sawmill operator and local landowner. Zephyrhills was incorporated in 1915.

Today, Zephyrhills is best known for its water. Dubbed “The City of Pure Water” in its formative years to attract tourists and prospective residents, this slogan is still used by the city today. Water from Lake Zephyr is considered among the purest in the state, and as a result, bottled lake water is an important export from the area. Zephyrhills thrives as a seasonal tourism destination, industrial center, and hub for recreational activity, marked especially by its reputation as a skydiving destination. Each spring, Main Street Zephyrhills holds an annual Founder’s Day celebration; its 100th annual celebration will be held in March 2010. In December, the organization held a Festival of Lights parade and celebration.

Since its designation in 1994, Main Street Zephyrhills has generated 298 new public and private revitalization-oriented projects in its district, worth a total value of over $3.4 million. It has overseen the net addition of 71 new businesses in its district, creating 208 jobs, and has benefited from the commitment of over 11,250 volunteer hours.

To learn more about Main Street Zephyrhills, contact Brenda Welcher by phone at 813.780.1414 or e-mail mszi@verizon.net.

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