This morning Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced to Historic City News that Vilano Beach Main Street has been designated Florida Main Street Community of the Month for March 2016.
In 2003, Vilano Beach was designated a Florida Main Street Community, committed to balancing historic preservation with development. Dotted along the commercial business district are restored historic buildings such as the Magic Beach Motel, and the new retail development, the Vilano Beach Town Center.
“The Vilano Beach Main Street district offers residents and visitors a more laid back experience to Florida’s coastal living,” said Secretary Detzner. “In this quaint little town located on the barrier island two miles northeast of St. Augustine, people from all over the world come to enjoy the serene views of the beach, a day of fishing on the pier, and a glimpse of old Florida. Vilano Beach is a model Main Street community and a great place to visit.”
Communities are selected based on their developmental achievements and participation in the Florida Main Street Program. Since its designation 13 years ago, Vilano Beach Main Street’s achievements include $42 million in public and private reinvestment, creating a net gain of 9 new businesses and a net gain of over 179 new jobs to its Main Street area.
Tourists have always played a major role in Vilano Beach’s history, first venturing across the inland waterway by ferry or steam train in the late 1800’s until a bridge was erected in the late 1920’s. On unpaved roads, tourist and residents enjoyed the island’s tropical gardens, restaurants, and the island’s biggest attraction – the beach.
During the Florida Land Boom of the 1920’s, Vilano Beach was platted, and in the 1940’s, scenic highway A1A was constructed. Following World War II, Vilano Beach blossomed with small motels and “motor courts” along its highway.
Today, Vilano Beach is a year-round tourist destination with numerous small businesses and gorgeous ocean front views. With the recession behind us, there is new interest in Vilano Beach.
“We are in close communication with developers who are looking at infill projects for our underutilized lots,” says Executive Director Sallie O’Hara. “We have recently received a $5,000 public art improvements grant and hope to continue to grow, attract and accommodate more tourists in our beautiful beach town.”