ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY & DOWNTOWN PROJECTS
The Downtown Venice Association was formed by the former Merchants Association in Venice, originally established in 1965.
The Downtown Venice Association, with support from the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Venice, decides to form a non-profit corporation enabling them to apply for the Florida Main Street Project. By a unanimous decision of those at this meeting, Paul Intagliata, George Hunter, Jr, Bill Reilly, Jerrel Towery and Don Patterson were elected as the first five board members of Venice Main Street, Inc.
Venice is chosen as a Florida MainStreet City and selects its first MainStreet manager. Venice MainStreet, Inc. received its 501(c)3 tax exempt status. First year activities concentrated on the organization’s foundation work. A full-time manager, Doug Mann, is hired to oversee the activities, educate participants and the public and promote the program. Heavy emphasis is placed on promotional activities and producing newsletters, brochures and special events held in conjunction with other community groups. Rehab projects, locating new businesses in the downtown area and annual special events give an overall sense that the core of the downtown area is not only thriving but progressing and that the program is working.
Second year activities encompass more visible aspects of the program, such as the Gateway Arch sign at the entrance of the downtown area, in the median of the first block of West Venice Avenue. Supported by pairs of columns, this sign shows Venice’s commitment to preserving its Northern Italian-style architecture. The area is enhanced by the Venice Area Garden Club’s landscaping project.
Venice MainStreet (VMS) donates $1,500 to the historic Triangle Inn project.
VMS partners with the City of Venice to design the Centennial Park restrooms. The City receives national awards for the designs.
VMS installs cement podiums and way-finding maps throughout downtown Venice.
Together with Venice Heritage Foundation, VMS funds a feasibility study of renovating the Historic Train Depot.
Designs and purchases city light pole banners and Christmas lights. The City of Venice helps to install them.
Approved and participated in the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce 20/20 Vision of Venice Task Force.
Installs newspaper boxes downtown.
Rollins Coakley sat on the Venice MainStreet Task Force for renovation planning of the Historic Venice Train Depot.
Designs and constructs the downtown Information Kiosk in Centennial Park.
Through grants from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Ehrhart Family Foundation, VMS installs the Intergenerational Fountain in Centennial Park.
In partnership with Venice Area Beautification Inc, VMS installs 12 bike racks.
VMS, Venice Blue’s Festival, and Suncoast Blues Society donate $1,000 for Venice High School Band Sousaphone repairs.
Installs lighted Venice advertisement at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ).
Partners with Venice Heritage, Inc. (VHI) to produce and install 186 historic sign toppers that identify the historic John Nolen District. VMS and VHI receive the 2016 Heritage Award in Public Education for the project by the History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County.
VMS, Venice Blue’s Festival, and Suncoast Blues Society donate $3,000 to the Venice High School Band.
Launches www.VisitVeniceFL.org, the go-to website for Venice residents and visitors. Within a year, the site gets 10,000 visitors per month.
Updates iconic West Venice Avenue archway sign with state-of-the-art, electronic LED sign.
Launches Lovin’ Our Locals summertime campaign directed at creating a renewed sense of ownership in downtown by year-round Venice residents.
In a joint project with Venice Area Beautification Inc, VMS installs 13 planted pots along Miami Ave. This project was supported by a grant from the Venice Area Garden Club.
Installs large advertisement mural titled “Venice Is” at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) showcasing all the benefits Venice has to offer visitors and the community, with the help of supporting grants from Visit Sarasota, the Ehrhart Family Foundation and our advertising partners.
Begins year-long “Summer of Love” marketing campaign, with support from Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Venice Gondolier Sun, to keep locals and tourists visiting the historic district during construction resulting from the Downtown Venice Beautification Project by the City of Venice (Venice, Florida Municipal Government).
Completes interactive, three-dimensional mural project at the corner of West Venice Avenue and Nassau Street (east wall of Celebration Corner) painted by David Lee with funding from Visit Florida, Ehrhart Family Foundation, and private donors.
In the summer, begins monthly appearances on ABC7’s Suncoast View to showcase downtown Venice district, shops and restaurants.
Launches improved website visitvenicefl.org with interactive map of local businesses and organizations funded by Visit Florida.
On November 12th, the City of Venice makes a proclamation to welcome new fairy residents to Venice. This launches the fairy door project in downtown Venice where ceramic doors made by local artists and high school students are installed by The Venice Company. This is a joint project between Venice MainStreet and the Venice Art Center, with funding from The Ehrhart Family Foundation.
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