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Havana Wins Main Street Designation, Begins Reimagining Downtown

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The Panhandle town of Havana recently won a Florida Main Street designation from the Department of State. Now the community is re-envisioning the future of its downtown.

Historically, the tobacco trade fueled Havana. When the industry dried up, so did many of the local businesses downtown. The Florida Main Street designation means the community can tap into grant money to revitalize the district. Tony Lombardo is leading the effort. He hopes the program will fill the vacuum left by the tobacco industry and the Great Recession.

“We’re just not putting enough feet on the street, if you will. There’s not enough tourists...community…visitors coming to the town to keep the economy strong. Main Street kinda opens up a new world for us,” Lombardo said.

He hopes to attract more businesses to the old tobacco town’s historic buildings.    

“People today, many of them are tired of the strip malls, the big box stores. They kinda want to slow down and step back a little bit. And by coming to Havana you do that. Almost every business we have in downtown Havana is owned by a family!” he said.

The group is hosting its first public meeting on the future of downtown Havana on September 6th.

As a Tallahassee native, Kate Payne grew up listening to WFSU. She loves being part of a station that had such an impact on her. Kate is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. With a background in documentary and narrative filmmaking, Kate has a broad range of multimedia experience. When she’s not working, you can find her rock climbing, cooking or hanging out with her cat.