If you have been paying attention, over the past several months Navarre Press has been covering and reporting on all the ways for a Navarre downtown to develop. Quint Studer has been our resource because he knows better than anyone how to accomplish it. Even in this issue we write about it (see CivicCon story page –)
A vibrant downtown grows small business, contributes to the rise in property values and significantly betters our quality of place. But we know Navarre cannot have a downtown with U.S. Highway 98 running through it. It is not walkable nor is it bikeable and it isn’t even a friendly drive.
Moving the downtown idea north of Highway 98 opens a huge door for Navarre. It certainly isn’t anything that could happen overnight. There are residences there. The area ripe for this development is north of Esplanade Street, south of Laredo Street and west of Granada Street.
This area could be filled with boutiques, a bakery, outdoor café/restaurant, art gallery and brick or paver sidewalks and even some residences. Live and shop downtown. Who wouldn’t want to do that? There are so many possibilities when we lift downtown and make it a neighborhood experience. It becomes a social event with activities, a place to meet friends for coffee on a Saturday morning or a way to finish off the week with dinner Friday night.
This very concept was born years ago when the Heart of Navarre/Towne Center zoning was proposed. And now is the time to put more emphasis on it. The Florida Department of Transportation is making their plan to widen US 98 to six lanes which will not be good for our small businesses.
It has to start somewhere.