For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Contact: Chris Cate
Secretary Detzner Designates Eau Gallie Arts 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 Eau Gallie Arts District Main Street as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for March 2012. The selection for this award is based on the Eau Gallie Arts District program’s involvement and active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.
“Eau Gallie residents are committed to the revitalization and beautification of their historic downtown area,” said Secretary Detzner. “In the art district’s short time being a main street community, they have found a way to successfully unite their love of the arts with their appreciation for local history.”
The Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD) is located in Melbourne, Florida. EGAD was designated a Main Street community in 2010, but it is located in one of Florida’s oldest cities. Founded by William Henry Gleason and named for the scores of coquina rocks that line the shore of the Indian River, Eau Gallie, meaning “rocky water,” has a beautiful natural landscape that helped draw early settlers to the area. The Indian River was central to the lives of early Eau Gallie residents. The river was a source of sustenance and also served as an important transportation route. When the railroad reached Eau Gallie in the 1890s, it did much to grow the city’s economy. With reliable railways, residents were able to engage in more large-scale agriculture and timber operations.
The town continued to grow when US-1 was completed in the 1920s. The new highway brought more tourist dollars to Eau Gallie, and Eau Gallie prospered until the Great Depression ushered in difficult economic times. Eau Gallie, along with the greater Melbourne area, rebounded from the Great Depression when WWII brought a military, aviation and technological presence to Eau Gallie that was followed by a flood of new residents who were tied to America’s space program. Amidst all this urban development, the Indian River has remained an important part of the landscape. Eau Gallie residents still flock to its waters for fishing, boating and other water sports.
Eau Gallie residents have a proud historical and artistic heritage. The area was once home to writer and folklorist Zora Neal Hurston. The historic downtown area is lined with restored buildings that are now home to businesses and retail shops. EGAD Main Street is bustling with restaurants, museums and art galleries. Though Eau Gallie has grown significantly in the last hundred years, it is still a very friendly and close-knit community. As a Main Street program, EGAD draws people downtown by combining the congenial spirit of a small town with the cosmopolitan sensibility of a vibrant arts district.
As a Florida Main Street Community, EGAD has attracted a net gain of seven new businesses and 13 jobs, as well as attracted investments of nearly $80,000 in five public and private construction projects. Dedicated community members have contributed nearly 5,000 volunteer hours to their Main Street Program. Eau Gallie has seen great gains even in its short time as a Main Street Community.
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.
To learn more about EGAD Main Street, contact program manager Jillian Burghardt by phone at 321.752.0463 or e-mail [email protected].