RENEWAL

This is the week of Passover and Easter and nearly everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs or practices, understand it's a time for renewal.  We are forgiven for past errors and get to start over during Easter and Passover. That is kinda what happened yesterday at a five hour workshop at the County Commissioners office. Two newly elected commissioners, Isnardi and Tobia, who are vivisecting budgets looking for money for roads, want to kill CRAs, a funding set aside dedicated to economic renewal and reinvestment in areas designated as blighted. That includes EGAD.

It's this simple--the county authorizes a city to create a CRA, a defined area that is deemed to be blighted and, without help, will be an underperforming economic entity; a drag on everybody. It starts with assigning a "base year" value on the real estate. Over time, that value increases within that defined area by good fortune and investment. Now you have an "incremental" value, an increase from the base year. Multiply that incremental figure by the tax rate (city and county millage rates) and then multiply that by 95% and, voila, you have yourself some money that wasn't there before, money that was derived and earned directly from the work and investment happening within the CRA. That money is reinvested back into the defined area (the CRA) and, before you know it, Bob's your uncle, and more investment is happening. The ripple effect of even one investment is exponential thus increasing its value even more so. Over time, a blighted area is now a vibrant, hoppin' place to be. New businesses contribute to the overall tax base so it's an incredible win-win for a community and the only proven tool for economic redevelopment in the entire country. Fortunately, the other commissioners were able to vote down Isnardi and Tobia. The local cities with CRAs (all of them) provided overwhelming evidence of the impact of the CRA. 

EGAD's CRA was formed in 2000, and the CRA repaired the library dock and built Eau Gallie Square and band shell in partnership with Eau Gallie Rotary.  It expanded slightly in 2010 and the new main street program started. The real estate appreciation has been over $20 million, and we're just starting. This year, the CRA installed new trash cans, benches and bicycle racks. Next year, we will receive new street lights and cafe lighting over part of Highland Avenue. Over a dozen new businesses have opened doors and some of those have expanded already. The demand for space is hot and steady. Plus, we throw one mean First Friday and will be installing more murals this December. 

Since the beach is dangerous right now, come to EGAD. The water's fine and the only shark is painted onto a wall.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS FOR 2016-2017 YEAR

EGAD BEGINS NEW YEAR WITH SEVERAL NEW BOARD MEMBERS

Beginning new three year terms on the EGAD Board is George Alexander (Ace Hardware), Teresa Beard (Clevens Face and Body Specialists), Tina Murray (Foosaner Art Museum/FIT), Tom Richards (Richard Appraisals), Andrew Roman (Roman Bros.), Gwyneth Shick (Victoria Landing) and Brian Stephens (Dean Mead). Continuing board members are President Derek Gores, Vice President Adam Warner, Secretary Kyle Smyth, Treasurer Allison Soltesz, Vonnie Hoyman, Alexis Johnsten, Rob Salonen, and Mitch Varnes. We very sadly say goodbye to long-time members Jacie Stivers, Steve Lum and Carl Kaiserman who have served EGAD well. We know they will remain friends of EGAD and we will always be big fans of theirs.

The work of EGAD is shared by four committees — DESIGN, ORGANIZATION, PROMOTIONS and ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING — and is conducted by an all volunteer army to which YOU are invited. Meetings are on the EGAD calendar and have regularly scheduled times. Your ideas and sweat equity are more than invited, they are needed!

GETTING INTO THE SWING OF THINGS

EGAD is about to get very busy and it’s all great stuff you won’t want to miss. September belongs to Space Coast Pride as they host their annual Festival and Parade on Saturday, September 24, from noon-7 pm. The day starts with the festival along Highland Avenue and entertainment in the band shell and inside the Eau Gallie Civic Center.  Everybody loves a parade! The parade starts at 6 pm at the northern end of Highland Avenue and marches down to the Civic Center, where it turns right and ends.  BYO chair and spread out along Highland Avenue to watch this colorful celebration that includes several grand marshalls, choirs, floats, and shiny happy people.

Two weeks later, October’s First Friday kicks off with a great blues band while Intracoastal Brewing Company kicks off their third annual Rocky Water Brewfest, but this time, it’s on their own property. Brewfest lasts for three days and tickets are available.

Two weeks later, Rehab Vintage Market’s third annual Vintage Revival Antiques and Sidewalk Market will line Highland Avenue with over 70 vendors of antiques, shabby, chipped, rusted, rehabbed, reimagined and original works will be available. EGAD will be offering food and beverages, including beer, in Eau Gallie Square. Rest your weary feet and listen to the awesome band Bittersweet while you enjoy food or a beer. Hours: 9am-5pm (Highland and Bud Jeager will be closed from Friday night to Saturday early evening.) An ATM will be in the square, but vendors accept cash or credit.

Four weeks later, ArtWorks of Eau Gallie celebrates their 20th juried art show on Highland Avenue. Consider buying a sponsorship which is applied to any purchase; it’s the best deal in town. Hours: 10am-5pm both days (Sat/Sun and Highland Ave will be closed starting Friday night). Art, jewelry, crafts, food and beverages.

Have a great Thanksgiving and see you back for December First Friday where we’re trying something a little different. Penny Creek will be in the band shell while we celebrate a more rustic themed holiday season. The next Drag Queen Bingos will be Friday the 13th of January and Friday the 17th of March at the Civic Center. Expect some surprises!

ANNUAL ELECTION OF OFFICERS

EGAD Main Street, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization registered with the IRS and holds an annual Board of Directors election every October. Board members now serve three year terms so, at this election, some members will continue serving their term and some will be elected to open seats created by three board members whose terms are expiring on 9/30/2015. Eau Gallie conducts a nomination and vetting period and will present its slate of candidates at the October 4 meeting to which the public is invited, but where only members in good standing may vote. Those names are: Andrew Roman (Roman Brothers, architect), Teresa Beard (Clevens Face and Body, marketing), Brian Stephens (Dean Mead, attorney), George Alexander (Eau Gallie Ace Hardware, owner), Tina Murray (Foosaner Art Museum/FIT), Tom Richards (Richards Appraisals, realty appraiser), and Gwyneth Shick (Victoria Landing, fundraising, marketing). Here is the Oct 2016 ELECTION BALLOT. Biographical information will be available at the Annual Meeting.

Anyone who wishes to run for office may come to the meeting on October 4 at Foosaner Art Museum/FIT in their Harris Auditorium at 5:30 pm, and submit their name for the slate to be voted on.

THANKS TO OUR DIRECTORS WHO ARE STEPPING DOWN.

EGAD has been extremely fortunate to have had JACIE STIVERS, CARL KAISERMAN and STEVE LUM on our board. When you meet Carl, you learn quickly that he is a retired architect from Brooklyn. Carl’s contributions to the Board have been invaluable. His tireless efforts on the big green community kiosks are his lasting legacy to EGAD, but he was a major player in the public arts program, too, and secured private funding and donations for the murals. Steve is the president of Slug-a-Bug who has supported EGAD in so many ways, including last December First Friday’s human snow globe. His gentle wisdom will be missed.  Professionally, Jacie is an expert commercial real estate broker with deep ties and investment in the community who has made undeniable contributions to EGAD’s success. Personally, she is an incredibly positive person and we consider ourselves very lucky to have her good counsel.

EGAD has benefitted tremendously by these outstanding people and we are proud to have had them as members of our Board.