For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Contact: Sarah Revell
Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee Designates the Grand Central District Association as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month
TALLAHASSEE, Fla –
Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee announced today that the Grand Central District Association has been designated the February 2019 Florida Main Street Program of the Month. Programs are selected based on their development achievements and participation in the Florida Main Street Program.
“The Grand Central District is a community committed to downtown revitalization,” said Secretary Lee. “They have proven that great success can be achieved when hard working residents come together to preserve their community’s history.”
Grand Central District, St. Petersburg, Fl.
The Grand Central District is a thriving community located just west of Downtown St. Petersburg between 1st Avenue North and 1st Avenue South. The Grand Central District first developed during the early 1920s land boom and remained primarily residential until the 1940s and 50s when most of the residential buildings were removed in favor of commercial development. During that time, the area was known as “automobile alley” due to the numerous gas stations and car repair shops lining the streets. Today, most of the car repair shops and gas stations have been repurposed into popular restaurants in the district.
During the 1980s, the community went through a period of economic downturn and many shops had to close. In 1999, the St. Petersburg City Council put together the Central Avenue Tomorrow Plan, which details the revitalization of the district through transportation, streetscape and urban design improvements. This plan is the basis for the Grand Central District Association Main Street program, which was designated in 2001.
“Once, not long ago, this part of the Central District was inhospitable. It was pretty desolate,” said Jonathan Tallon, President of the Grand Central District Association. “But it was a unique, funky area and you could do what you wanted, so it attracted a very curious and interesting mix of entrepreneurs. It became an innovation lab and a testing ground to prove many of the Main Street principles in a real-world setting.”
Since its designation in 2001, the Grand Central District Association has made great strides in historic preservation and community revitalization. They have attracted more than 100 new businesses, which in turn created many jobs. In addition, they have seen public and private investment in their district through projects such as a streetscape project in 2018 that created 32 parking spaces through the Central Avenue corridor. These parking spaces resulted in a huge boom to the district’s retail shops, breweries and restaurants.
For more information about the Grand Central District visit grandcentraldistrict.org or facebook.com/grandcentraldistrict. For more information on the Florida Main Street program visit floridamainstreet.com or facebook.com/FloridaMainStreet.
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About Florida Main Street
Florida Main Street is a program administered by the Division of Historical Resources under the Florida Department of State, which currently oversees 47 communities throughout the state. By implementing the National Main Street Center’s Four-Point Approach®, Florida Main Street encourages economic development within the context of historic preservation through the revitalization of Florida’s downtowns – the community’s heart and soul.