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Eustis Main Street Designated Florida Main Street Program of the Month

seal of florida

Florida Department of State
Dawn K. Roberts
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
June 04, 2010

Joan Jefferson

Eustis Main Street Designated Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Interim Secretary of State Dawn K. Roberts announced today that Eustis Main Street has been designated the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for June 2010. Selection for this award is based on a record of active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

"Eustis Main Street has helped the city to retain its small-town character in the face of rapid growth in Central Florida," remarked Secretary Roberts, "and has also incorporated green redevelopment practices in its approach to historic preservation."

The early history of Eustis can be traced back to the 1830s, during the time of the Second Seminole War, when Brigadier General Abraham Eustis skirmished with Seminole fighters in the area of Central Florida now occupied by Lake County. In that area, a large lake was later named Lake Eustis in honor of the Brigadier General, and a group of pioneers settled a small town by the same name in 1875.

Eustis was known by several names in its early years, including Highlands, Pendryville, Mellonville, Fort Mason, and Lake Eustis. Economic development in the area was spurred by the opening of a steamboat line in 1879 which operated on several lakes along the Ocklawaha River system. The steamboats delivered mail, food, supplies, and other retail goods throughout the region. "Lake" was formally removed from the town's name in 1881, and as the local economy grew and attracted residents, a rail line connected Eustis to nearby towns. The city of Eustis was incorporated in 1883.

Eustis' later history is remarkably quiet. Throughout the 20th century, the area grew modestly as an agricultural center, producing melons, citrus, and a variety of vegetables. In the latter half of the century, Eustis and other parts of Lake County grew as a result of the construction of Walt Disney World and growth in the Orlando area. Today, the population of Eustis is just over 18,000. With the designation of Eustis as a Main Street community in 1993, and later as a "Tree City USA," Eustis is actively engaged in urban revitalization and the beautification of its downtown.

Since designation in 1993, Eustis Main Street's program area has seen 167 public and private revitalization projects worth a total value of more than $13.8 million. During the same period, the community has benefited from a net increase of 65 new businesses in the program area, and local residents have dedicated over 15,600 volunteer hours to Eustis Main Street's revitalization efforts.

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