Mike Rey, owner of Paris Hair Design, has worked to make the intersection outside of his shop more pedestrian friendly for the past year and a half.
Last Wednesday, the fruits of his labor became a reality when a fountain, the centerpiece of a revitalization project at the corner of Main Street and Highland Avenue, was installed outside of The Living Room Restaurant & Lounge.
“I wanted to open the area up, make it so you could see the businesses easier and make the whole corner more pedestrian friendly,” Rey said. “The fountain is the focal point, and it blends in beautifully.
Rey and René Johnson, the owner of The Living Room, paid for the fountain jointly. Johnson is assuming legal liability for the public property she is using to add 20 seats to her restaurant. Her business also assumes maintenance of the fountain.
The revitalization project to add pavers, underground wires and generally beautify began at that intersection in August and is nearly complete. A dedication ceremony is slated for Wednesday (Nov. 23) at 5 p.m.
Rey said he and Johnson couldn’t have got their plan past the drawing board without cooperation from the city.
“My wife and I and René really worked hard with city officials to make our idea become a reality. They did a tremendous job working with us. They really stepped up to plate,” Rey said.
Rey felt this smaller scale undertaking was just as vital for the continued growth of the city and its downtown district as the other redevelopment projects on the docket.
“We want to grow this city out, to attract more pedestrians to this corner, make it more visually appealing and easier to access," Rey added. “This is a beautiful town with some excellent spots. We just want our area to be one of those spots."
So far, reaction to the project, which features a wider outdoor dining area outside of The Living Room, has been positive.
“We’ve gotten a lot of compliments so far," Stefania Fusillo, an employee of the restaurant, said. "It adds to the overall atmosphere of the area."
"The tables under the awning are nice, but many guests, especially those from out of town, like to dine under the Florida sunshine.”