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  • Writer's pictureFernandina Beach Main Street

March 2024 Newsletter

Years In The Making:

Fernandina Beach Moves Forward with Plans for Waterfront Park



Within her role as chair of the Community Redevelopment Agency board, Fernandina Beach Main Street Executive Director, Lisa Finkelstein recently presented plans with other CRA members for a park on the waterfront of the Amelia River.


Realizing a vision that’s been decades years in the making, the seven board members of the CRA, worked together on the unanimously approved plans that will transform the unutilized open space – known as Lot C&D – into a multi-use green area that provides much-needed recreation, event, and inclusive community gathering space accessible for all in downtown Fernandina. The design was proposed to the City Commissioners in early January


The plans call for a 14,000 square-foot lawn that will serve as both recreational space and concert seating for 1,200 people along with a multi-purpose pavilion and stage. A children’s play area and group picnic spot will create a safe, fun, and picturesque space for families, community members, and visitors to enjoy views of the Amelia River. A marsh gazebo and revamped riverwalk along the existing flood wall will provide additional opportunities to soak in the beauty of our Island’s namesake waterway.


Flex-space, located on the south end of the park, will provide the amazing benefit of being used for meeting the needs of various event requirements such as petanque tournaments, parking, food-trucks, additional seating, and vendor booths.


With the plan having been approved by The Fernandina Beach City Commission with a 4-1 vote, engineers will now begin work on the design process.


 

4 Council Updates


A Main Street America™ program's work is organized around Four Points: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion, and Organization. Councils representing these four points are key to accurately representing the Fernandina Beach community as we identify their unique competitive advantage, leverage the power of residents and local stakeholders, and implement a series of short-and-long-term projects. Learn about the recent updates and projects our Councils have been working on:

Economic Vitality:

Focuses on capital incentives and other financial tools to assist new and existing businesses.


- Marketing efforts for the FBMS Arboretum to include pole banners, signs on trees, and a walking tour


- Continued work with Distrx: the free app showing businesses, events, and attractions within the FBMS district. Working towards a goal of 90 businesses on the app, we now have 78. The Council continues marketing the app to public. Link is being added to wayfinding signage downtown.


- Planning Meet & Greet for businesses for April. Survey to be sent out to determine the program. Meet & Greets are held each quarter to give businesses a chance to network, share best practices, and learn about something relevant to their business within the community or in the business world.


Design:

Supports historic preservation by enhancing the physical and visual elements of our business district.


- In November, the Design Council was pleased to see the Historic Preservation ordinance passed by the City Commission. The ordinance ensures the maintenance and preservation our historic streetscape elements, including hex sidewalk pavers, brick crosswalks, granite curbing and concrete street markers.


- Presented a landscape design plan (from Horizon Landscape) to the City for implementation with the new maintenance contract for Downtown landscaping.


- Currently planning the May 2024 Preservation Tour and Awards:

  • The Tour will focus on the historic churches in our downtown area and will be held on Saturday 5/18 from 10-2P. Tickets to go on sale later this month.

  • The Preservation Awards will recognize and highlight the efforts of homeowners, builders, architects and craftsmen in the preserving of our unique architectural resources and character.

Promotions:

Hosts events which showcase Main Street Members & Partners and encourage the “buy local” experience.


- Winter Sip & Shop held on Jan 19 was our most well-attended event to date with 350 attendees and 30 participating business locations. Businesses reported increased sales and traffic with many gaining new customers as a result of this event. The next Sip & Shop will be held on Aug 16. A new Sip or Treat event will be held on Oct 25.


- The 8th Street Mutt Madness Tail Trail event kicks off on March 1 and runs for the entire month culminating in an after party at First Love Brewing on April 7, 2-4pm. Pick up a shopper card at any one of 30 locations, spend $10 and get it stamped. Collect stamps all month and return your card at the After Party for a chance to win great prizes!

Organization:

Responsible for fundraising, marketing, and collaboration with external organizations.


- Unveiling of the new logo to reflect the energy of the organization and our mission of preservation-based economic vitality.


- Continued work on a new website with greater focus on events and businesses within the FBMS district for the public and critical resources for our Main Street businesses.


- Planning for the 2024 Island Hop is underway. The focus at this time of year is on brewer recruitment. Save the date for Oct 5th. This event is the FBMS signature fundraising event that supports all FBMS activities.


 

Upcoming Events

Join us for fun and community!



Friday, March 1, 2024 through Sunday, April 7, 20244:00 PM


8th Street Mutt Madness Tail Trail


Fernandina Beach Main Street, in partnership with First Love Brewing, is thrilled to announce a new event, the 8th Street Mutt Madness Tail Trail. Sponsored by IQ Fiber and First Port City Bank, with JW Frame Gallery as the Print Sponsor, this event promises a month-long celebration of community spirit and furry companionship. The 8th Street Mutt Madness Tail Trail will run throughout the month of March, culminating in the Mutt Madness After Party on April 7th from 2-4PM at First Love Brewing. Shoppers are invited to participate by picking up cards at participating locations along the 8th Street business corridor. Upon making a minimum purchase of $10, shoppers will have their cards marked by the respective businesses. The more blocks they complete, the more chances they'll have to win exciting prizes!



Application period runs through March 31


Spring Facade Improvement Program Matching Grant


Fernandina Beach Main Street's (FBMS) Facade Improvement Program is designed to improve and enhance the overall look and experience of the Main Street District by providing matching grant funds to property or business owners within the boundaries of the FBMS District. These funds can be used for a number of types of projects that improve the exterior, street-facing portion of the property. The matching grant can provide up to 50% of the funds for a project with the maximum grant award of $10,000 to any one project. For more information and to apply, head to our website. For questions or to determine eligibility prior to completing an application, please contact the FBMS Executive Director at info@fernandinamainstreet.com.


** Curb Appeal Award nominations for the first quarter of 2024 are also being accepted through the end of March.

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