Orange Park considering overhaul of downtown area

Main Street USA project

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 11/11/20

ORANGE PARK – An American Main Street could be in the town’s future.

The town’s massive strategic visioning and planning could bring about an old-school vibe with new-school tactics called …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Orange Park considering overhaul of downtown area

Main Street USA project

Posted

ORANGE PARK – An American Main Street could be in the town’s future.

The town’s massive strategic visioning and planning could bring about an old-school vibe with new-school tactics called Main Street USA to Orange Park. The main street was pitched during last week’s Orange Park Town Council meeting on Nov. 4.

If it’s approved, it could be a major facelift that makes the gateway into Clay County even more attractive.

“Each of us has chosen to make Orange Park our home, to raise our families here, to start our business ventures here,” presenter Carolyn Marquis said. “Both public and small business sectors have a vital interest in the district and must work together. Each sector has a role to play and each must understand the other’s strengths and limitations in order to forge a strong relationship.”

The nationwide program works with towns and cities to transform districts into a main street. It takes about three years from application time to main street designation and in that time, the state seeds $30,000, or $10,000 a year, to the town or city after a three-year commitment. The transformation would include store front and signage face lifts, promotional campaigns, special events, architectural plans and a dedication to quality across the board.

The purpose would be to change community habits and bring about a business renaissance for local and out of area visitors.

“We felt the need to map out from that Haskell [visioning company] document what we perceive our mission to be,” Marquis said of the town’s visioning. “As our discussion continued, it became apparent we really need a project planned, an office with resources, some directives, and maybe some funding. We would take what Haskell recommended and take and manage those resources. The [Strategic Visioning and Planning] 2040 team would likely become that body. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel though, and this main street approach is what [we’re] looking at.”

The main street program has been revitalizing older and historic commercial districts around the country for 40 years, and it’s a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, today. If the town decides to move forward, it would need to hire a main street director who would hire a main street project team.

Everyone would work in tandem to create main street partnerships with the business community, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and medical services. The town council members said the program seems nice and it’s something they’re interested in learning more about. They were sure if it would translate to a future vote.

In other business, the council approved contracts for its CARES Act funds. The money will be used to fix things up, make town buildings things more accessible while reducing contact. This includes automatic faucets, doors, paper towel dispensers, dispensers, hand sanitizer dispensers and more, so expect Town Hall to become more touch-free.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment