Secretary Detzner Designates Apalachicola as Florida Main Street Program of the Month 

Recognizes organization’s contribution to preservation and restoration

TALLAHASSEE – Secretary of State Ken Detzner today announced Historic Apalachicola Main Street as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for February 2013. The selection for this award is based on the Apalachicola program’s involvement and active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.  "I am proud to recognize Historic Apalachicola as a Main Street program of the month for the organization's commitment to historic preservation and economic development," said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. "Apalachicola's success in the Main Street Program demonstrates how communities can generate great economic opportunities by promoting heritage tourism."

Apalachicola is a small city located on northeast Florida’s gulf coast with a population of approximately 2,200.  Recognized when President James Monroe appointed the first port collector in 1822, Apalachicola has long been a center for commerce, creativity and independent thinkers. The city was incorporated in 1831 and has evolved from a port city to a lumber town to a seafood center and now a heritage tourism destination.

Originally known as a trading post called Cottonton, Apalachicola was once the third busiest port in the Gulf of Mexico. The port brought wealth and a diverse population, building the foundation for a great city. The original blueprints for Apalachicola were modeled after Philadelphia and the resemblance is still there today. In 1831, the town received its current name in tribute to the Apalachicola Tribe. In the early 20th century, the sponge trade was a major industry in the town. Apalachicola, to this day, is deeply invested in Apalachicola Bay. A variety of seafood workers, including oyster harvesters and shrimpers, still reside in Apalachicola.

Apalachicola is a unique Florida town that has a feel of "Old Florida," as a small coastal community. Although a rural area, its history has influenced Apalachicola’s rich culture. Being exposed to many world influences has shaped Apalachicola. Remnants of its colorful and diverse past remain very visible today through its many historic homes and buildings. There are more than 900 historic homes, buildings and sites in the city's historic district.

Since its designation as a Main Street community in August 2011, Apalachicola has had 78 construction and rehabilitation projects totaling $1,433,340. Nine businesses have opened, creating 21 new jobs in the downtown area. Volunteers have donated 965 hours of their time to meetings and events.  To learn more about Historic Apalachicola Main Street, contact Paulette Moss at 850.272.5224.

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.

City passes resolution for Historic Apalachicola Inc. to lead economic re-development in Apalachicola

On August 11, 2010, the Apalachicola City Commission unanimously voted to endorse the newly established non-profit corporation, Historic Apalachicola Inc., in it’s application for the National Trust For Historic Preservation’s Main Street program. The Main Street program gives a framework that helps communities develop and implement their own ideas. Main Street is a volunteer-driven, locally envisioned, community based program with proven results. It is a trademarked Four Point Approach supported by eight guiding principles.

As a unique economic development tool, the Main Street Four-Point Approach® is the foundation for local initiatives to revitalize their districts by leveraging local assets—from cultural or architectural heritage to local enterprises and community pride.
The four points of the Main Street approach work together to build a sustainable and complete community revitalization effort.
Organization, involves getting everyone working toward the same goal and assembling the appropriate human and financial resources to implement a revitalization program. A governing board and standing committees make up the fundamental organizational structure of the volunteer-driven program. This structure not only divides the workload and clearly delineates responsibilities, but also builds consensus and cooperation among the various stakeholders.
Promotion, sells a positive image of the commercial district and encourages consumers and investors to live, work, shop, play and invest in the Main Street district. By marketing a district's unique characteristics to residents, investors, business owners, and visitors, an effective promotional strategy forges a positive image through advertising, retail promotional activity, special events, and marketing campaigns carried out by local volunteers. These activities improve consumer and investor confidence in the district and encourage commercial activity and investment in the area.
Design, means getting Apalachicola into top physical shape. Capitalizing on its best assets — such as historic buildings and pedestrian-oriented streets — is just part of the story. An inviting atmosphere, created through attractive window displays, parking areas, building improvements, street furniture, signs, sidewalks, and landscaping, conveys a positive visual message about the commercial district and what it has to offer. Design activities also include instilling good maintenance practices in the commercial district, enhancing the physical appearance of the commercial district by rehabilitating historic buildings, encouraging appropriate new construction, developing sensitive design management systems, and long-term planning.
Economic Restructuring, strengthens a community's existing economic assets while expanding and diversifying its economic base. The Main Street program helps sharpen the competitiveness of existing business owners and recruits compatible new businesses and new economic uses to build a commercial district that responds to today's consumers' needs. Converting unused or underused commercial space into economically productive property also helps boost the profitability of the district.
The National Trust Main Street Center's experience in helping communities bring their commercial corridors back to life has shown time and time again that the Main Street Four-Point Approach succeeds. 
That success is guided by the following eight principles, which set the Main Street methodology apart from other redevelopment strategies. For a program to be successful, it must whole-heartedly embrace the following time-tested principles.
Comprehensive: No single focus, no lavish public improvements, no name-brand business recruitment, or endless promotional events can revitalize Main Street. For successful, sustainable, long-term revitalization, a comprehensive approach, including activity in each of Main Street's Four Points, is essential.
Incremental: Baby steps come before walking. Successful revitalization programs begin with basic, simple activities that demonstrate that "new things are happening " in the commercial district. As public confidence in the Main Street district grows and participants' understanding of the revitalization process becomes more sophisticated, Main Street is able to tackle increasingly complex problems and more ambitious projects. This incremental change leads to much longer-lasting and dramatic positive change in the Main Street area.
Self-help: No one else will save your Main Street. Local leaders must have the will and desire to mobilize local resources and talent. That means convincing residents and business owners of the rewards they'll reap by investing time and money in Main Street; the heart of their community. Only local leadership can produce long-term success by fostering and demonstrating community involvement and commitment to the revitalization effort.
Partnerships: Both the public and private sectors have a vital interest in the district and must work together to achieve common goals of Main Street's revitalization. Each sector has a role to play and each must understand the other's strengths and limitations in order to forge an effective partnership.
Identifying and capitalizing on existing assets: Apalachicola must capitalize on the assets that make it unique. It has unique qualities like distinctive buildings and human scale that give people a sense of belonging. These local assets must serve as the foundation for all aspects of the revitalization program.
Quality: Emphasize quality in every aspect of the revitalization program. This applies to all elements of the process, from storefront designs to promotional campaigns to educational programs. Shoestring budgets and "cut and paste" efforts reinforce a negative image of the commercial district. Instead, concentrate on quality projects over quantity.
Change: Skeptics turn into believers and attitudes about the commercial district will turn around. At first, almost no one believes Main Street can really accomplish the work. Changes in attitude and practice are slow but definite. Public support for change will build as the Main Street program grows and consistently meets its goals. Change also means engaging in better business practices, altering ways of thinking, and improving the physical appearance of the commercial district. A carefully planned Main Street program will help shift public perceptions and practices to support and sustain the revitalization process.
Implementation: To succeed, Main Street must show visible results that can only come from completing projects. Frequent, visible changes are a reminder that the revitalization effort is under way and succeeding. Small projects at the beginning of the program pave the way for larger ones as the revitalization effort matures, and that constant revitalization activity creates confidence in the Main Street program and ever-greater levels of participation.
The founding board was created on April 6, 2010 and set fast to work building a strong organization. The board has committed that no membership fee will be charged and while the program will focus on a specific area, the entire community will benefit. The board is made up of business and property owners as well as concerned citizens, members are Harry Arnold, Jamie Atchison, Leon Bloodworth, George Coon, Cindy Giametta, George Mahr, Pam Mahr, Shirley Pace, and Lynn Wilson. Joe Taylor served as the initial volunteer coordinator. At the March 2011 Board meeting, Jim Bacarach, Daphne Davis and Joe Taylor were asked to join the Board. Paulette Moss accepted the role as the Main Street Program Manager.
The Mayor of Americus, Georgia, Russell Thomas had this to say about the program, “For the longest time, we all waited for a white knight to ride into town and fix the problem. But the Main Street people made us realize that the only way to get it done right was to do it ourselves."