The Florida Secretary of State has bequeathed a trio of honors on the Brooksville Main Street program; thus granting due acknowledgement to the program that spreads limitless enlightenment, education and entertainment throughout the community.
The Florida Main Street Awards & Florida Preservation Awards were given Thursday evening at the Preservation on Main Street Awards Banquet at Spartan Manor in New Port Richey. It was a key event of the Florida Main Street and Florida Trust for Historic Preservation on Main Street conference, and was bestowed by Secretary of State Laurel Lee in twelve categories to Main Street programs. Brooksville Main Street won in two of the twelve categories; Outstanding Public/Private Partnership and Outstanding Public Improvement. Brooksville Main Street was also recognized for achieving a 5th year milestone as a Main Street program.
"Through the four Brooksville Main Street committees, volunteers and staff are working every day to make Brooksville even more fun and exciting than it is today. Our favorite way to know it's working is when we see smiles on the faces of our neighbors and friends when they attend one of our events or thank us for helping them find a place for their new business. Your enthusiasm propels us forward daily. But it's also kinda cool when someone from the outside recognizes what Brooksville is doing,” read a related news release.
Brooksville Main Street's Public/Private Partnership Honor Award recognizes the program's Picnic Table Project with the Hernando County Government. When restricted indoor dining mandates went into effect, outdoor seating arrangements placed outside of downtown diners and restaurants seemed the perfect answer; and when Main Street called upon local artists to decorate the tables, the results were beautiful and purposeful. When Main Street pitched the idea to County Administrator Jeff Rogers, he directed funding toward the purchase of the tables. Main Street then oversaw the artist selection for the table decoration, as well as table building and placement. "The Brooksville Bike Rally provided the picnic tables, which we placed outside the Brooksville County Courthouse and at the bandshell," explained Natalie Kahler, Brooksville Main Street Executive Director. "And by putting out the call to artists, it was a creative way for people to contribute to the project, and to promote the public/private partnership."
The Outstanding Public Improvement Merit Award recognized both the economic and recreational impact of the Florida Mermaid Trail. Which is a fun activity in which participants, with the help of a map, an app, and audio narration from the mermaids themselves, seek out 21 mermaid artworks, plus three bonus sirens! "Retailers and restaurateurs agree on the daily impact the trail has had on their business. Plus it's just super fun and families have another free option for creating memories in Brooksville,” read the news release.
"The Mermaid Trail is a permanent public improvement which created extra economic opportunities for local businesses. When people seek out a mermaid (mermaid figurines placed outside local businesses, museums, etc.), they may discover a place they didn't know existed. The businesses are loving the exposure,” said Kahler.
Kahler also takes special pride in the fact that Brooksville Main Street was this year's sole recipient of the 5th year milestone Main Street honor. "We were the only program recognized as having made it all five years," she said. Kahler said that this special, statewide validation of the Brooksville Main Street program meant a great deal to her, and to the staff members and volunteers who make the program possible. "There are so many times in running this program, when you wonder if you're making a difference," she said. "This validation is encouraging."
Ultimately, Kahler is most encouraged by the future of the Main Street program. "Things are changing, and we're changing with them. It's wonderful for the state to recognize Main Street,” she said.
For more information about Brooksville Main Street and how to get involved, visit https://www.welovebvl.org/.