Florida Main Street
Program of the Month
March 2011 Program of the Month
Main Street Fort Pierce
Secretary Browning Designates Main Street Fort Pierce as Florida Main Street Program of the Month
~ Recognizes organization’s contribution to preservation and restoration ~
TALLAHASSEE – Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning today announced Main Street Fort Pierce as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for March 2011. The selection was based on Main Street Fort Pierce's contribution to the preservation and restoration of a number of historic structures since its inception in 1988.
"Main Street Fort Pierce has consistently demonstrated an exemplary commitment to downtown revitalization and historic preservation," said Secretary Browning. "This organization has continually been an essential component of Florida's statewide preservation effort. We are proud to make this designation."
Since Main Street Fort Pierce's inception, Fort Pierce's downtown has seen 162 construction and rehabilitation projects totaling more than $173 million worth of investment, 101 business openings and 513 new jobs. In addition, volunteers have donated more than 38,500 hours of their time to meetings and events. Among Main Street Fort Pierce's recent accomplishments is its participation in the restoration of the historic City Hall, which was built in 1925, the A.E. "Beanie" Backus House, and the Sunrise Theater.
Main Street Fort Pierce's fundraising efforts are anchored by a series of signature events, including a monthly Friday Fest and the annual Sandy Shoes Festival and Sights and Sounds on Second. In 2010 and 2011, Main Street Fort Pierce was selected by the National Trust Main Street Center as one of 10 nationwide finalists for the Great American Main Street Award. The 2011 award winner will be announced during the National Main Street Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on May 23, 2011.
About Fort Pierce
The Fort Pierce area was inhabited by Spanish explorers as early as the mid-16th century. At that time, the Spanish called the area "Santa Lucia," which is generally regarded as the etymological origin of St. Lucie County. St. Lucie County was created from Brevard County in 1905, with Fort Pierce as the designated county seat. Fort Pierce itself was originally the site of a military outpost utilized chiefly during the Second Seminole War. Though the fort fell into disuse after the war ended, some buildings remained and sustained a small population for several decades. Coinciding with the southward development of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway, settlers began repopulating the Fort Pierce area in the 1890s, and the city was incorporated in 1901. Like many other early Florida cities, Fort Pierce depended largely on fishing until railroad facilitated the shipment of cattle products and citrus to other areas of the state.
Today, the Fort Pierce area is supported mainly by retail/wholesale, health care, and service-sector economic anchors. However, educational and research facilities have recently begun to locate in Fort Pierce, including Indian River State College, the $6 million Smithsonian Institution Research Center and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. A substantial inventory of historic structures still exists in Fort Pierce, many of which are still occupied by businesses and residents.
About Florida Main Street
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 Main Street Fort Pierce, visit the organization's website at www.mainstreetfortpierce.org or contact Doris Tillman at 772.466.3880.