Main Street Vero Beach thanks long-time supporters

VERO BEACH — Main Street Vero Beach (MSVB) hosted a party at the Greenhouse Café Wednesday night to thank Beverly and Marty Paris and Robert Votaw for their long-term contributions to the organization’s Downtown Friday events.  Beverly and Marty, who have worked on the Downtown Friday committee since its inception almost 16 years ago, and Votaw, who has chaired the committee for the past six years, will all be retiring from the committee after the Downtown Friday Summer in the City event on July 30.

Invited guests to the party included MSVB board members, some of the many volunteers who work at Downtown Friday and Hibiscus Festival events, and other supporters of the Historic Downtown area.

Early in 1994, Bea Gardner, Beverly Paris and Donna Roberts developed the concept for the popular street parties and eventually launched their first Downtown Friday in October of that year.  Shortly afterward Beverly recruited her husband Marty to take part. Although other committee members have come and gone over the years, the couple remained a steadfast presence on the committee.

“The Main Street board wanted to thank them for doing all that work over the years,” said MSVB board member and Greenhouse Café owner Olske Forbes.

Main Street Vero Beach has seen some incredible growth over the past 20 years as a result of their efforts and those of other supporters of the Historic Downtown area.

“Think of it in terms of maturing, like a fine wine,” said Peter Jones, who will become MSVB board president in October.  “There is now a wonderful structure in place for people to be able to step into their roles.”

According to current board president Daniel Fourmont, the board now has almost 20 active members.  And others have expressed in interest in becoming involved, especially with the resurgence of the Historic Theatre Plaza project and the fundraising campaign to re-open its doors.

During a brief ceremony, Fourmont reiterated the organization’s thanks to the trio saying, “They have done a wonderful job, and all of Vero Beach has benefited. What they have done takes a lot of dedication and sets a very good example of what volunteerism is all about.”

Vero Beach Mayor Kevin Sawnick read and presented all three with official Proclamations of Appreciation from the City.  He got a laugh from the crowd after noting that the Proclamation had been signed by all City Council members, quipping, “It’s one of the few things we’ve all agreed on.”

Beverly Paris expressed her thanks saying, “It takes people like all of us to bring people back to downtown areas.  We thank you for your contributions and leave it in your good hands.”

Marty Paris agreed saying,” It was great working with all the volunteers.  I would not have done it all these years if it were not such a fun committee.”

Robert Votaw, who began chairing the events in 2004, said he was asked to chair the committee after they found out he was a theatre major in college.  “My experience in theatre has helped in putting on these Downtown Friday productions, but without the whole committee, it could not be done.”

Votaw also noted that Susan Viviano has stepped up to take over as chair of the Downtown Friday committee.

“Back in olden days Downtown Vero Beach was the heart of the community,” said Beverly Paris.  “It was where everyone in the community came to shop and to do whatever business they needed to do.  We’re trying to make it once again a place to live, work and play.”  {igallery 230}

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