The Vilano Beach Town Center will be the site of the next statewide Florida Main Street Conference September 18 – 20; according to an invitation received by Historic City News in St Augustine today.
In a dual celebration, Vilano Beach Main Street will commemorate its 10th anniversary as a Florida Main Street, as well as the 500th anniversary of the landing of Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon, in 1513, at 30 degrees 8 minutes; only a few miles north on Coastal Highway A1A.
“Unlike traditional Main Streets which have revitalized existing downtowns, a new bridge over the Intracoastal in 1995 left the commercial district blighted, vacant, and unused,” said Sallie O’Hara, Vilano Beach Main Street Program Manager. “There was no Town Center, only a formal Vision for the future that began in 1997.”
Today, Vilano Beach Main Street is enhanced with recreational opportunities and natural environmental beauty in a half-mile area between two waterfronts. There are underground utilities and storm water systems, sparkling glass pavers, signature benches, way-finding signage, seating and trash receptacles, a bell tower, wide sidewalks, two waterfront pavilions, a nature greenway boardwalk, public dock, and fishing pier. There are 5 water features. Public art includes 3 life-size dolphins and a nine-foot-tall bluebird from the 1940’s and 50’s that was once used to sell orange juice on the pier. Tactile signs created by students from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind were installed along a boardwalk along with four waterfront themed mosaics.
Program Managers and their volunteers from 450 Florida Main Street Communities have been invited, along with other government officials, to see what Vilano Beach has accomplished using award winning New Urban Design principles and a citizen-government partnership.
Participants will see the one of a kind streetscape, take tours, hear nationally recognized speakers on revitalization topics at the multi-million dollar GTM National Estuarine Research Reserve Environmental Education Center and have a chance to network with each other.
A Reception will be held at the beach-front Beaches Restaurant next to the Inlet Marina and the Secretary of State’s award ceremony and dinner will be held at the private ocean-front Serenata Beach Club.