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Secretary Detzner Designates Grand Central District 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 Grand Central District Main Street as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for June 2012. The selection for this award is based on the Grand Central District program’s involvement and active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

"Grand Central District Main Street is an outstanding community that is committed to the Main Street Program and to the continued progress of their downtown area," said Secretary Detzner. "Grand Central District has proven how much can be achieved when residents work hard to preserve their cultural heritage."

Grand Central District Main Street, located west of downtown St. Petersburg, is a vibrant community that is home to restaurants, antique shops, art galleries and other eclectic shops. The Central Avenue Trolley, first extended into the district in 1913, is still transporting residents and visitors alike into the area. Grand Central District is a community that embraces both its rich history, and a modern sensibility.

Much of Grand Central District remained undeveloped until the 1920’s land boom. Charles Hall, a developer who purchased large tracts of land there in 1912, built high-style homes to promote his own subdivisions and successfully attracted many others to the area. Though Grand Central is now a thriving commercial area, early in its history Grand Central was primarily a residential area. In the 1940’s and 50’s, most of the residential buildings were removed in favor of new commercial developments. Some of the original residential structures were preserved, but encased with modern commercial storefronts. Butchers, grocers, furniture stores and beauty parlors were among the shops that lined the corridor.

During the 1980’s, the community went through a period of economic decline. The area suffered as shop owners fled the area and buildings were left abandoned and deteriorating. However, the Central Neighborhood Plan, developed in 1991, went a long way to revitalize the area. Several businesses worked with the city to help investigate the best ways to redevelop the Grand Central corridor. By 1993, streetscaping greatly improved the esthetics of the Grand Central District. Oak trees, new lighting and street furniture lined the streets and merchants returned downtown to open up new businesses. In 2001, Grand Central District became a Main Street community, and their downtown has continued to flourish.

The Florida Main Street Program designated Grand Central District a Main Street Community in 2001. As a Florida Main Street Community, Grand Central District has attracted a net gain of 130 new businesses and 385 jobs, as well as investments totaling nearly $23 million dollars in 173 public and private construction projects. Dedicated community members have contributed nearly 12,500 volunteer hours in their Main Street Program.

To learn more about Grand Central District Main Street, contact program manager Lauren Ruiz by phone at 727.828.7006 or email gcda@grandcentraldistrict.org.

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.

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