CRESTVIEW — Forget New York City’s Times Square ball-drop. If Community Redevelopment Agency board member Robyn Helt’s proposal becomes a reality, historic Main Street could become the next hot spot for welcoming a new year.


CRESTVIEW — Forget New York City’s Times Square ball-drop. If Community Redevelopment Agency board member Robyn Helt’s proposal becomes a reality, historic Main Street could become the next hot spot for welcoming a new year.



The board voted unanimously Monday to form a committee to consider having a First Night in Crestview celebration.



However, it is too late to organize a committee and plan a major event for this New Year’s Eve, Helt said. Board President Ben Iannucci supported her proposal.



“I think it’s an excellent idea,” he said. “The way Main Street is set up, it’s a perfect location. The businesses could really prosper if we draw more people into town.”



Board member Charles Baugh Jr. said that if the celebration kicks off in 2014, “it could also form as a sort of dry run for the 100th birthday celebration of the city.”



Helt envisioned an activity-filled “First Night” New Year’s Eve downtown street festival similar to events such as the Music and Arts on Main Street, First Friday and other downtown festivals.



“A lot of our citizens make plans to leave town for New Year’s (Eve),” Helt said. “They go to Fort Walton (Beach), they go to Mobile, Ala. We have Main Street, which is a perfect place to hold something like this.



“Fred Astaire (the Crestview dance studio franchise) could have dancing; restaurants could offer catering or a buffet,” she said. “It could be as elaborate or as small as we have the vision to do. The idea is to encourage the people from Crestview to celebrate here at home instead of going to other cities, and maybe even bring people from other cities to Crestview to celebrate New Year’s Eve.”



When CRA board member Tim Grandberry noted that several local churches present New Year’s Eve celebrations, Helt said they could incorporate their events in a community-wide celebration.



“Perhaps some of the churches would want to pull together and be part of a larger event,” she said.



Though some community organizations have set events for the holiday, that shouldn’t stop the CRA from organizing a community celebration, board member Thomas Gordon said.



“There’s always competition,” he said. “I certainly support this type of activity.”



In other matters, the CRA board:



• Unanimously approved $18,000 in façade-improvement grant requests for Stewart Law Firm’s buildings at 213 and 215 N. Main St.



• Received a report from Main Street Crestview Association president Ellis Conner, during which he recommended forming a committee to suggest design criteria for restoring downtown buildings.



Conner also said funding is still needed for a full-time Main Street manager position.