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Secretary Browning Designates Eustis Main Street as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

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Florida Department of State
Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2011

Chris Cate

Secretary Browning Designates Eustis Main Street as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Recognizes organization’s contribution to preservation and restoration

TALLAHASSEE – Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning today announced Eustis Main Street as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for April 2011. The selection for this award is based on the Eustis program’s involvement and active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

“Eustis Main Street has helped the City of Eustis retain its small-town character during a period of rapid growth and development in Central Florida,” said Secretary Browning. “The Eustis organization has also effectively incorporated green redevelopment practices in its approach to historic preservation.”

Since its designation in 1993, Eustis Main Street’s program area has had 178 public and private revitalization projects worth more than $14 million. During the same period, the community has benefited from a net increase of 74 new businesses in the program area, and local residents have dedicated more than 19,118 volunteer hours to Eustis Main Street’s revitalization efforts.

About Eustis

The history of Eustis can be traced back to the 1830s, during the time of the Second Seminole War, when Brigadier General Abraham Eustis fought against Seminole fighters in the area of Central Florida now known as Lake County. In that area, a large lake was later named Lake Eustis in honor of the Brigadier General, and a group of pioneers settled a small town by the same name in 1875.

Eustis was known by several names in its early years, including Highlands, Pendryville, Mellonville, Fort Mason and Lake Eustis. Economic development in the area was spurred in 1879 by the opening of a steamboat line which operated on several lakes along the Ocklawaha River system. The steamboats delivered mail, food, supplies and other retail goods throughout the region. “Lake” was formally removed from the town’s name in 1881, and as the local economy grew and attracted residents, a rail line connected Eustis to nearby towns. The City of Eustis was incorporated in 1883.

Throughout the 20th century, the Eustis area grew modestly as an agricultural center, producing melons, citrus and a variety of vegetables. In the second half of the century, Eustis and other parts of Lake County grew as a result of the construction of Walt Disney World and growth in the Orlando area. Today, the population of Eustis exceeds 18,000. With the designation of Eustis as a Main Street community in 1993, and later as a “Tree City USA,” the city is actively engaged in urban revitalization and the beautification of its downtown.

About Florida Main Street

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.

To learn more about Eustis Main Street, contact Wayne Carter at waynecarter@eustismainstreet.org or 352.357.8555.

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