Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee joins in marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael’s historic landfall in the Florida Panhandle by recognizing the recovery strides made by the Florida Main Street Program’s impacted communities.
“The resilience of these seven Florida Main Street programs, in the wake of Hurricane Michael’s devastation, is commendable,” said Secretary Lee. “The exceptional dedication they all have shown to their communities and downtowns should serve as an inspiration to us all.”
The morning of October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall between Mexico Beach and Panama City, Florida. It was the first Category 5 hurricane on record to directly affect Florida’s panhandle. Seven Florida Main Street communities were impacted by Hurricane Michael: Apalachicola Main Street, Main Street Blountstown, Chattahoochee Main Street, Havana Main Street, Main Street Marianna, Panama City Downtown Improvement Board, and Quincy Main Street. Over the past year, these communities have worked tirelessly to rebuild and reinvigorate their downtowns and their local communities.
Apalachicola Main Street hosted their annual Independence Eve celebration on July 3rd, 2019. It featured one of the largest firework displays in the Panhandle and attracted approximately 7,000 attendees. The event also welcomed U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer, who announced a future USNS transport ship will be named after the City of Apalachicola. For more information on Apalachicola Main Street, visit downtownapalachicola.com.
Main Street Blountstown’s grassroots efforts raised over $20,000 this past year. The funds were distributed toward recovery efforts to city and community groups. The City of Blountstown initiated work on a long anticipated splash pad area in the heart of downtown, and the Calhoun County Dixie Youth League began rebuilding batting cages that were destroyed during the hurricane. For more information on Main Street Blountstown, visit facebook.com/MainStreetBlountstown.
Chattahoochee Main Street, partnered with the City of Chattahoochee, received technical assistance from the National Park Service’s Recreation, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. Funding from the technical assistance will allow the program to focus on developing eco-tourism at Chattahoochee Main Street’s River Landing Park on the Apalachicola River and in their historic district. For more information on Chattahoochee Main Street, visit facebook.com/ChattahoocheeMainStreet.
Havana Main Street purchased the Havana State Bank building, built in 1907, to save the building from probable demolition due to damage sustained in Hurricane Michael. A complete restoration of the building to its former grandeur is planned. For more information on Havana Main Street, visit havanamainstreet.com.
Main Street Marianna, in conjunction with the Marianna City Commissioners who also serve as the Community Redevelopment Agency Board, worked to allow funding for façade improvement and demolition grants throughout the downtown district. Currently, 25 businesses have benefitted from the façade and demolition grants distributed as a response to the destruction of Hurricane Michael. This has facilitated clean-up and façade repairs in the aftermath of the storm. For more information about Main Street Marianna, visit facebook.com/MainStreetMarianna.
The Panama City Downtown Improvement Board hosted Bay High School’s senior prom in their McKenzie Park after the proposed venue, the Lynn Haven Country Club, was destroyed. Local businesses provided additional funding and resources to make the event memorable for the local high school students. For more information about Panama City Downtown Improvement Board, visit historicdowntownpc.com.
Quincy Main Street partnered with local Gadsden County artist, Dean Mitchell, to create and sell prints of his work in order to raise money for individuals whose homes suffered roof damage during the hurricane. In addition, the program began hosting a monthly Food Truck Friday at the Gadsden County Courthouse to encourage citizens to visit their downtown. For more information about Quincy Main Street, visit quincymainstreet.org.
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 46 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.