For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Contact: Chris Cate
Secretary Detzner Designates Okeechobee as Florida Main Street Program of the Month
Recognizes organization’s contribution to preservation and restoration
Tallahassee, Florida –
Secretary of State Ken Detzner today announced Okeechobee Main Street as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for April 2013. The selection for this award is based on the Okeechobee program’s involvement and active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.
"While Okeechobee is known for its great fishing and hunting grounds, Okeechobee Main Street has helped build community spirit for the downtown area and revitalized many projects," said Secretary Detzner. "Main Street has played a critical role in preserving and supporting the community of Okeechobee with revitalization efforts and community festivals."
Okeechobee, which means "big water" in the Seminole Indian language, was established near Lake Okeechobee in the early 19th century by dislocated Seminole tribes. The community developed with the dredging of surrounding rivers, which connected to other Florida towns. Booming catfish industries led to the 1915 incorporation of the city and subsequent railroad service. A number of the city’s significant existing historic structures date back to this period.
Okeechobee Main Street hosts some of the biggest events in Okeechobee, including the Speckled Perch Festival and Pageant, Chalk Walk and Top of the Lake art festivals and the Puppy Pageant dog show. The Speckled Perch Festival is the city’s longest running festival. Since its start in 1965, the festival has provided entertainment for residents and visitors of all ages, including a parade, rodeo and pageant. Okeechobee is known as the "Speckled Perch Capitol of the World."
Since its designation as a Main Street community in 2004, Okeechobee has had 277 construction and rehabilitation projects, totaling nearly $54 million. A total of 183 businesses have opened, creating 694 new jobs in the downtown. Volunteers have also donated more than 51,000 hours of their time to meetings and events.
To learn more about Okeechobee Main Street contact Cindy Birdshaw at 863.357.6246.
About Florida Main Street
Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, managed by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. 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.