Updated February 25, 2021

The Florida Main Street Program has helped revitalize the downtown areas of many Florida towns. 

It is a technical assistance program administered by the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State.

Fernandina BeachFernandina Beach

As shopping malls, Wal-Marts and other big box retailers moved out to the suburbs, many Florida down town neighborhoods languished and then collapsed.

This was the unfortunate history of Florida towns in the years following World War Two.  A generation ago, the central areas of many Florida towns looked like war zones. Windows were boarded up, crime was rampant and no law abiding person wanted to be there after sundown.

Then in the 1980s, the Main Street Program was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The program is under the umbrella of the the National Trust Main Street Center.

Main Street Florida EustisFerran Park, Eustis, Florida

It is not a grants program. Costs of operating the local programs are the responsibility of the individual towns and neighborhoods.  Grants are given to the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This group provides the consulting required to develop local Florida Main Street programs.

The Main Street approach advocates improvements in four areas to create a positive, distinctive image for downtown:

  1. Organization. Working with public and private sector community leaders to develop consensus and coordinate resources to revitalize downtown.

  2. Promotion. Creating and marketing a positive image of downtown through special events, retail sales, effective advertising, and public relations.

  3. Design. Encouraging quality building rehabilitation, signage, public improvements, and window displays to improve the appearance of downtown.

  4. Economic Restructuring. Improving the economic base of downtown by strengthening existing businesses, recruiting new businesses, and filling second floor vacancies.

The Main Street approach also advocates a return to community self-reliance and emphasizes the downtown's traditional assets: personal service, local ownership, unique architecture, and sense of community.

The Main street program is helping preserve Florida history.

The result for you is a group of more than 50 Florida towns and neighborhoods that are fun places to visit or live.

Pasco County Courthouse, Dade CityPasco County Courthouse, Dade City

These communities have become favorite Florida attractions. Most Florida Main Street downtowns have fine small restaurants, coffee shops, gift shops, antique stores and art galleries.  All Main Street towns are pedestrian friendly.

Just park your car and enjoy.

More information at the website of Florida Main Street.

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