Lake Wales Main Street is a local, private partnership organized in 1987. In the past it was partially funded by the City of Lake Wales. Currently, we rely on memberships, sponsorships, grants and donations.
Lake Wales Main Street is recognized as one of Florida’s first Main Street programs. Today, it continues the mission of making Downtown Lake Wales an historical site destination for everyday business, shopping and leisure activities.
The program utilizes National Main Street’s proven four-point method called the “Main Street Approach.” This method offers a move toward downtown revitalization that has been successful in more than one thousand towns and cities throughout the country.
Our Board of Directors has four permanent committees matching the areas of the “Main Street Approach.” Additional subcommittees are formed to address current issues.
The Main Street Approach
Coordination of separate civic, citizen and public organizations to work more effectively for downtown improvements.
Lake Wales Main Street: Working with the city’s economic development director and our members to identify their priorities for future downtown projects; partnering with the city and the Chamber of Commerce to produce a flyer on requirements for starting a business in Lake Wales; coordination with the USDA, city, Chamber, various foundations, universities to apply for grants to begin an incubator program to assist new businesses.
Creating a positive image that will attract customers and investors to the downtown area. This includes the development of well-planned events and festivals.
Lake Wales Main Street: Continuing the monthly Lake Wales Car Show. Development of a semi-monthly Farmer’s Market to bring people to the downtown area. Investigating other options for events and festivals in conjunction with other organizations in Lake Wales. Work to support existing merchants with promotions in local newspapers, websites, event calendars, youtube.
Enhancement of the visual quality of buildings, storefronts, signs, public improvements, landscaping, merchandising displays and promotional materials.
Lake Wales Main Street: Support the historic preservation and revitalization of our Downtown core business district. Recruiting and assisting in clean-up of the downtown area, working with building owners to identify and assist in needed building exterior repairs and painting, window coverings, return of planters after watering resources are identified, contacting members, the city and Progress Energy to identify needed improvements to downtown lighting and electrical receptacles for event vendors.
Improvement of the economic base of the downtown by strengthening existing businesses, recruiting new businesses and filling vacancies.
Lake Wales Main Street: We believe that small businesses are the backbone of America and a vibrant Downtown contributes much to our community’s economy. Our vision includes a full complement of high quality retail businesses filling all ground floor vacant properties with additional professional offices upstairs. Downtown Lake Wales should become a successful attractor of not only local patrons but also out-of-town visitors. We continue to encourage input from the Board and our membership on ways to assist existing merchants and new businesses. We support and sponsor workshops, seminars and individual counseling in combination with other civic, citizen and public organizations including the Small Business Development Center of the Central Florida Development Council.
Lake Wales Main Street’s Challenges
Main Street does not currently have a full-time manager and so relies heavily on volunteers. Most of our volunteers are board members who generously give their time to try to bring stability and continuity to the programs/events/sponsorship toward revitalizing Downtown Lake Wales.
Lake Wales Main Street
2011 – 2012 Board of Directors
Else Group, LLC
Special Projects Manager
863-678-4182 X 270
Polk State College, JD Alexander Center
Historic Lake Wales Society
Promotion: Larry Bossarte
Design: Mimi Hardman
Organization: Lisa Pedersen
Economic Restructuring: Kevin Respress