Florida Main Street
Program of the Month
September 2008 Program of the Month
New Port Richey Main Street
Secretary of State Names New Port Richey Florida Main Street Program of the Month
Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning announced today that Greater New Port Richey Main Street has been designated as Florida Main Street Community of the Month for September 2008. Communities are selected for this award based on their participation in the Florida Main Street Program.
"Greater New Port Richey Main Street is a program that exemplifies how to effectively work with various resources and the public to create a resounding historical culture and atmosphere in the community," Secretary Browning comments.
Deemed as part of the northern Tampa Bay area, New Port Richey totals just 4.6 miles and is bordered on the west by the Gulf of Mexico with the Pithlachascotee River flowing through the city. The town's rich history highlights the essence of a small town feel with the mixture of nature, beaches, culture and business.
Founded in 1915, New Port Richey was named after Captain Aaron M. Richey. With the efforts of the Port Richey Land Company, the primary developers of the downtown area, New Port Richey experienced continual growth. The town was promoted as an "ideal retirement area" and service center for outlying farmlands. Another support to the population maturity was the expansion of the railroad service and the nearby Dixie Highway.
During the Roaring 1920s, New Port Richey attracted may Hollywood movie stars. The historical Haceinda Hotel was a Spanish-style luxury hotel owned by film stars Thomas Meighan, Gloria Swanson, and local promoter George Sims. Actors built mansions along the Pithlachascotee River and many silent films were created in the area. Longevity plans to draw the motion picture industry to Florida were truncated by the Great Depression.
Greater New Port Richey was designated a Florida Main Street Community in 1990. The program has successfully benefited from 127 public and private investments totaling more than $41 million, while gaining 82 new businesses and 241 new jobs.
Visitors and residents are welcome to experience the history of New Port Richey's buildings, founding families, and information about present-day downtown by enjoying Walking and Boat Tours are offered by Greater New Port Richey Main Street. These tours also provide an opportunity to witness the nature and wildlife of the area. A few historic places located in or near the downtown area include The Meighan Theatre, now known as Richey Suncoast Theatre, Sims Park, and Orange Lake.
The Greater New Port Richey Main Street will be hosting this year's Founder's Day Celebration on September 26 through the 28th. The event will feature live music, arts and crafts, a car show, boat and kayak tours, and much more. The Chaotic CoteeMan Triathlon will be a brand new addition to the festivities. Like many other events, this is one through which the Main Street Program brings the community together to recognize and honor the historic foundations of the New Port Richey area. Revitalization of cultural traditions remains to be a consistent practice of Greater New Port Richey 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 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 Greater New Port Richey Main Street, visit www.nprmainstreet.com or contact Judy DeBella Thomas at 727.842.8066 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.