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Main Street Kissimmee Designated Florida Main Street Program of the Month

seal of florida

Florida Department of State
Dawn K. Roberts
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
October 08, 2010

Joan Jefferson

Main Street Kissimmee Designated Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Interim Secretary of State Dawn K. Roberts announced today that Main Street Kissimmee has been designated the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for October 2010. Selection for this award is based on a record of active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

"Kissimmee Main Street has been an exemplary program with exceptional leadership and community involvement," said Secretary Roberts. "Residents and visitors alike benefit from successes of this revitalization effort which has so enhanced the city's downtown."

Kissimmee is well known for its nearby tourism attractions and outdoor recreation opportunities. Incorporated in 1883, the city's thriving downtown offers ample pedestrian shopping areas, rehabilitated historic buildings, and provides a venue for community events and celebrations.

Kissimmee Main Street, along with the Downtown Kissimmee Area Council and the Osceola County Historical Society, has embraced the community's 127-year history and heritage as an agricultural and ranching center. In addition to its role as Florida's cattle capital, in the late 1800s the city became a shipbuilding hub when developer Hamilton Disston dredged the Kissimmee River and established his headquarters in Kissimmee. For the next 40 years, steamboats chugged from Lake "Toho" (Tohopekaliga) and downtown Kissimmee to the Gulf, and on to ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and to Cuba. The opening of Dixie Highway in 1916 linked Florida with the rest of the nation, marking the end of Kissimmee's steamboat shipping trade and the beginning of sprawl development and an eventual period of dormancy for downtown.

Since its designation as a Florida Main Street Community in 1997, Kissimmee's downtown has experienced an exciting rebirth with 385 construction and rehabilitation projects totaling more than $30 million worth of investment, 247 businesses have opened and 568 new jobs have been created. In addition, volunteers have donated over 11,000 hours of their time to meetings and events.

Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State. 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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