Bike Week and Biketoberfest Master Plan
Bike Week and Biketoberfest are both the bane and the blessing of Main Street. The intense business they bring for a few weeks a year allow many businesses to be open ONLY for those event weeks. Meanwhile, the rest of the year, the street is uninviting and unappealing. Understanding the Bike Week Master Plan is critical to understanding the possibilities to revitalizing Main Street. (Guidelines obtained from Reed Berger, Redevelopment Director at City Hall.)
Property and Business Inventory
In January 2017, Sandy Murphy, Amy Pyle, Linda Smiley, Ken Strickland, and Anne Ruby inventoried Main Street from A1A to the cemetery. On the afternoon of January 7, braving the cold and wind, we took pictures and wrote notes on the conditions on the north side of the street, the properties, and the businesses. We found great properties; properties with wonderful “bones”. Sadly, too many of them are empty or closed, and in need of upgrading, cosmetically and/or structurally. While several properties had signs saying they were open, only four businesses were actually open; John’s Rock and Ride, Daytona Thunder, Dirty Harry’s, and The Lucky Rooster.
On the morning of January 22, we inventoried the south side of Main Street and with the exception of some well-maintained facades in the 500 and 700 block it was a similar experience. There were few open businesses: Froggy’s Saloon, Rossmeyer’s Harley Davidson, America’s Bikers, Biker’s Den, and a couple other t-shirt stores.
The highlight of our inventories was going into Humphreys Jewelry. It was wonderful to learn more about this long-term business that is open year round and thriving. We had a lovely conversation with Mrs. Humphreys. We enjoyed the mural on the exterior west wall of the store but were sad to hear the city had given the owner a difficult time by treating the entire mural as signage.
The owners of the open businesses and those who maintain their facades are to be commended for their presence and perseverance, because the street is a mess. The sidewalks are filthy, the street has fading Harley Davidson decals, many facades have dangling electrical cords or open electrical connections and others are marred by brackets holding nothing. Many facades have crumbling stucco, there are several tattered American flags flapping forlornly, and several trash corrals are broken with their trash heaps on display. Closed businesses too often have their windows covered with unsightly, piecemeal coverings, and far too many windows were completely covered with posters. Even the empty parking lots are poorly maintained; one glittered with a thorough covering of broken glass, and another had multiple electrical boxes at knee height with covers ajar and a hodge-podge of outlets inside. Overall, the streetscape is grubby, unappealing, and uninviting.
It is so sad to see such potential in such distress when it could be, should be, a walker’s paradise. The question we need to answer is: how do we make it better?
There is a teeny tiny glimmer of hope. On our first inventory the city’s planters were filled with weeds. On our second inventory, the weeds had been cleaned out. And then the planters were used as an ashtray and an advertising sign anchor.
Below are links to samples of the chronic problems we found on our inventory; fixing these would go along way to making the street more pleasant. Fixing these does NOT require investments from large developers but could be achieved with good will and elbow grease.
Also are samples of role models (businesses making a positive contribution to Main Street) and looking at some of the pretty facades with possibilities.