Business Ties Build Strong Downtown Melbourne
It’s no secret that Downtown Melbourne is in the midst of exciting, big changes and a new injection of energy as we emerge from the pandemic. If you live in Brevard County, how could you miss it?
Pandemic aside, we were already watching Downtown transition from a protected harbor with a cozy history into a vibrant, next-generation business and entertainment hub with a youthful future. From our standpoint at Melbourne Main Street, it’s rewarding to see that journey continue in a way that does not abandon one for the other.
But like most downtown areas across the country, Melbourne has much to offer while still facing great challenges. Thankfully, our downtown continues to thrive because it is loved and supported by the local community – a community that fought to not only protect local jobs and businesses early in the pandemic, but to also keep focus on the ongoing transformation that will make even our great grandchildren proud.
Melbourne may date back to the late 1800’s, but Downtown was not actually designated as a distinct redevelopment area by the City of Melbourne until 1982. In 2002, it became a Main Street America™ accredited program, and part of the Florida Main Street community. The Melbourne Main Street organization, existing in its current form as a result of 17 years of board members, directors, staff, and volunteers, has been primarily focused on promoting the area’s offerings as well as laying the groundwork for growth.
Having that structure and experience in place during the pandemic restrictions and now during a huge shift in consumer behavior, has been instrumental for keeping things on course. Melbourne Main Street has been, and continues to be, a trusted source of information on a number of important issues for property and business owners, as well as potential investors. Working in tandem with the downtown community to help weather economic storms, apply for grants, brainstorm marketing ideas, find new tenants, and navigate regulatory requirements are just some of the ways our organization serves.
As a whole, strong connections and partnerships between Downtown Melbourne and the City of Melbourne, as well as other public entities, remain key to successful recovery and growth. We must always maintain a “seat at the table” with policy makers because what our area provides to community-wide quality of life, job availability, tax revenue, and destination tourism, is irreplaceable.
Many great things are happening in Downtown. Some are related to the pandemic and a change in consumer behavior, but most are the result of years of planning and effort by the local community. Good things are yet to come.
Kim Agee, Melbourne Main Street
Kim Agee is a skilled community and economic development strategist and executive director of Melbourne Main Street. She drives projects and individuals to success through professional savvy and a genuine passion for the local business community. Experienced in leadership, relationship and project management, and government affairs, Kim is often the “go-to” person to activate complicated agendas and achieve organizational goals.