At a Florida Main Street annual meeting in Deland earlier this month, Mel Livingston was presented a statewide award for “Outstanding Rehabilitation Project” for the Bowery Inn.
Livingston and his daughter Merrill attended the Secretary of State awards banquet, where he accepted this prestigious recognition.
The awards were presented by Ronni Wood, Florida Main Street program coordinator, and Dr. Matt Parsons, bureau of historic preservation division director and state historic preservation officer.
The award marks the second recognition this year of Livingston’s transformation of a boarded-up turn-of-the-century corner store, vacant for four decades, into a mixed-use residential and retail enterprise.
The renovation, completed in 2015, created a soft, fresh feel to the past, smoothed and grooved by the use of salvaged and reclaimed building material from Apalachicola.
Livingston brought to bear usable vintage materials from other renovation projects in his work, marked by attention to detail and authenticity.
The historic Bowery Inn Building created not only more downtown retail space, it did so in a section that had been the least developed in recent years, and accelerated constructive improvement to the two block square.
In addition it provided overnight accommodations upstairs, where guests are a few strides from the Apalachicola River. A small, open-aired viewing deck above the second floor is a point of tranquil beauty.
Apalachicola Main Street was also honored with its “Outstanding New Fundraising or Membership Development Effort” for their Friends of Downtown Campaign. The Friends of Downtown card is a donor appreciation effort, providing discounts at local business for supporters of Main Street.
The program is distinct from the popular Member Card concept used by National Public Radio in that the card offers mostly 10 percent discounts, which are valid each time it is used at a business for an entire year. The goal has been to reward repeat customers, and there’s no cost for businesses to participate.
Augusta West, Apalachicola Main Street’s director said “We’re thrilled with the initial positive response to this program. It’s part of a multi-faceted plan to create financial sustainability for our non-profit organization, while promoting downtown businesses. It is truly a win-win.”
The local Main Street effort also received a certificate recognizing its five year anniversary of being a Main Street program.