Caloosa Belle

Boone works tirelessly to improve downtown LaBelle

Kelly Boone began working with the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation (LDRC) on August 1, of 2016. A transplant from Ohio, Kelly fell in love with LaBelle upon moving here with her family and so she knew, when she heard there would be an opening with LDRC, that this was the job for her.

Kelly Boone works on another project to improve downtown LaBelle. (Caloosa Belle/Val White)

Since starting with the LDRC Kelly has enjoyed attending many conferences to learn what other communities have been doing to revitalize, beautify, and increase foot traffic and commerce in their own towns, and then brainstorming what types of ideas may translate to our charming downtown area of LaBelle.

One of her favorite projects that they have developed since her time with the Corporation is the “Friday on Fort Thompson” events. Primarily initiated to get people out on the streets, have a good time listening to great local bands, and bring customers to the businesses on the street like Forrey Grill, Belle’s Ice Cream Bar, and Bridge Street Coffee and Tea Company, the Friday night celebrations have become a favorite among locals.

The most recent of Kelly’s projects with the LDRC was the July 4th celebration. “They struggled a little with it last year because of the weather. This year we brought in the involvement of the Barron Library, The First Baptist Church of LaBelle, and the LaBelle Women’s Club to make the planning and celebration more of a community event,” Kelly said.

One of my personal favorites of the downtown event’s is the annual Wharf Walk which is coming up this Veteran’s Day on November 11. Kelly told me “People really enjoy a once a year event to look forward to.”

“The LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation is also in the process of organizing a Downtown Christmas event and we have ‘Smoke Under the Oaks’ in January,” Kelly added.

Aside from the events that have already been held and the events that are in the planning stages, Kelly has worked with LDRC on other projects such as the workshops for their business membership, the beautiful brick initiative (which has sponsors names, or names of their businesses engraved on bricks which are then placed by the city of LaBelle in the sidewalks), new lamp posts, new planters, and as I was talking to Kelly in her office, a very hard working group of men from the St Matthew’s House was assembling city benches which will be stationed throughout the downtown area along with garbage cans. The benches will also include sponsors’ plaques.

The LDRC plans to paint wings like this on the Caloosa Belle building. (Submitted photo/Adam Podsednik)

The LDRC is constantly looking for ways to improve, refurbish, and revitalize the downtown area to maintain the charm that LaBelle has always been known for. You can find more information about projects, events, business zoned properties available in the downtown area, and other ways to invest in LaBelle on the LaBelle Downtown Revitilzation Corporation’s website at www.downtownlabelle.com or you can contact them by phone at (863) 225-2749

Their office is located at 8 Park Avenue, LaBelle and the office hours are 9 a.m.-1p.m. Monday through Friday.