Monday, October 8, 2012

Downtown Cocoa Beach Needs Mainstreets Program


With 30 days to go until the election, the many new faces vying for spots in Cocoa Beach’s government must make the appearance and economic stability of the downtown business area a top priority.

The best way to achieve long-term viability without burdening taxpayers is to establish a Main Streets program-type initiative to revitalize downtown. The Main Streets Program is a non-profit movement that has helped turn hundreds of downtown areas prosperous for more than 30 years. 

Starting as a public-private partnership of volunteers, the program would evolve into a non-profit organization that creates and sustains an image for the downtown area of Cocoa Beach by providing community organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring. Further, the program's activities and initiatives could be storefront improvement grants, public enhancements through grants, and local promotional and fundraising events like road races, parades, auctions and shopping events that strategically aim to enhance the image of the city and its business district to not only attract consumers and tourists but new residents while restoring the viability of the area for locals.

The ultimate goals of this initiative include: job creation, saved tax dollars, bolstered tax revenue through increased sales, preserved historic elements and a positive image of the community through neighborhood events. 

I urge my elected officials and neighbors to learn from what our friends in Melbourne have already discovered – a Main Streets Program can work wonders. 

Jamie Bearse
Cocoa Beach, Florida

Bearse manages a national cancer nonprofit and lives in Cocoa Beach with his wife and three children