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Historic Downtown Stuart Is Now A Quarterfinalist In America's Main Street Contest

Stuart has moved on to the next round of the inaugural America's Main Street contest.

That means Historic Downtown Stuart has been voted among the top 25 Main Streets in the country. As a quarterfinalist, it is still in the running for a $25,000 grand prize to support revitalization efforts in the area.

The competition, in its first year, is being hosted by Independent We Stand, an organization that supports independently owned businesses and encourages people to buy local. 

Stuart was chosen by online voters from 253 nominees nationwide. Next, 10 of the quarterfinalists will be voted into the semifinal round. Voting runs until May 29.

Thondra Lanese, executive director of Stuart Main Street, noted Stuart is up against several Great American Main Street winners. To see Stuart make it to the quarterfinals is a testament to the power of the local community who's been voting and spreading the word, she said.

"There is some serious competition," she said. "What I think we have in our favor is amazing support from the community."

Stuart Main Street is the nonprofit organization behind Historic Downtown Stuart's revitalization efforts. The group has helped promote al fresco dining at local restaurants and enabled the Riverwalk boardwalk's extension.

Historic Downtown Stuart has a lot to offer, Lanese added: independent businesses, recreational opportunities, its "Old Florida" feel, and waterfront location.

“Wherever you are on the southern Treasure Coast, if you say you are 'going downtown,' you mean you are going to Stuart,” Lanese said in a press release. 

If Stuart wins, the prize money would help fund current Stuart Main Street programming, such as the free weekly Rock'n Riverwalk concerts and annual Dancin' in the Street Festival, and could also go toward creating a new digital alert system in the works for locals.

The 10 semifinalists who make it to the next round will be rated by a panel of contest judges, and the winner of the 2016 America's Main Street contest will be announced June 3.

Cast your vote up to once per day here.

See a list of the 25 quarterfinalists below:

  • Ames Main Street Cultural District, Ames, Iowa
  • Cedar Lee Business District, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  • Corning's Gaffer District, Corning, New York
  • Dover-Foxcroft Downtown, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
  • Downtown Brookings, Brookings, South Dakota
  • Downtown Development Authority of the City of Tifton, Tifton, Georgia
  • Downtown Laurel, MS, Laurel, Mississippi
  • Downtown Lynden, Lynden, Washington
  • Doylestown, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
  • Gateway to the Great North Woods, Millinocket, Maine
  • Grapevine Historic Main Street, Grapevine, Texas
  • Historic Downtown Franklin, Franklin, Tennessee
  • Jacksonville Main Street, Jacksonville, Illinois
  • Main Street Greenville, Greenville, Ohio
  • Main Street Libertyville, Libertyville, Illinois
  • Main Street Madison Indiana, Madison, Indiana
  • McKinney Main Street, McKinney, Texas
  • Moultrie Main Street, Moultrie, Georgia
  • Sterling Main Street, Sterling, Illinois
  • Stuart Main Street, Stuart, Florida
  • Third Street, Beaver, Pennsylvania
  • Venice Main Street, Venice, Florida
  • Water Street, Gardiner, Maine
  • Wellsboro Main Street Pennsylvania, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
  • Woodstock, Woodstock, Georgia

(Image via Flickr/Mitch Kloorfain)