If you live nearby you know The Avenue Viera is the town center. We spent a little time with Scott McCarthy, The Avenue’s general manager, and he told us there’s more going on than we could have ever guessed!
SCL: For someone living in Viera, it seems like The Avenue Viera is THE place for everything. There is always an event of some kind. Just how much goes on here?
SCOTT: We have 35 to 45 events a year. Ninety percent of them are related to a charity, our biggest being for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Most of our events give back to the community in some way, and we never charge to have an event.
SCL: What is The Avenue’s mission in regard to all of these events?
SCOTT: We have them not only to benefit the charities, but also to increase traffic. Our mission is to increase the sales for our tenants so more will want to come. On a more personal level, we like to give back to the community because it’s the community that supports us. Besides St. Baldrick’s, we also have American Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We’re having the Making Strides Walk back this year, with something like 10,000 people, and we’re doing the Relay for Life with the American
Another great example from last year was when the Viera High School Band was invited to go to the Sugar Bowl. It’s a great honor to go, but it cost $950 per person in expenses. For three months prior to the trip, we let The Viera high school marcking band do fundraisers to raise money. If we’re not giving back to a charitable organization, we’re giving back to the local schools.
SCL: Tell us a little about holiday preparations at The Avenue.
SCOTT: We’re having our North Pole again, with Mr. and Mrs. Claus starting December 8 and running every weekend up until Christmas. The Space Coast Symphony Orchestra’s 40-piece band will perform on Saturday, December 16. They’ll also send us their children’s choir for our tree lighting ceremony on Black Friday at 6:00 p.m. We’re always coordinating carolers and our local churches and schools to perform with Central Park. We’ll offer The Avenue to any organization that has an orchestra, or group to come here and perform. We provide the stage area and lighting. We do that throughout the holidays. We’ll also continue to offer carriage rides, but we’re adding train rides, too.
SCL: We’ve heard rumors that you’re redesigning the central park area…
SCOTT: The first phase will be to install a more prominent sign between Panera and Moe’s indicating Central Park, sort of like a gazebo arch with lighting. We’ll also be working on the landscaping in front of the shops. We’re going to make it easier for people to get to the sidewalks from their parked car to the shops.
We are redeveloping Central Park. We’re going to move the stage back closer to the wall to create more of an area in front of it. We’re going to get rid of some of the lower ground cover and some of the railing, and make it more of a flat surface for events. We’ll have larger areas to put tents or display tables or even chairs if we have a bridal show or concert. Also, when Central Park is not being used for an event, we’re going to have cornhole boards and giant Jenga games that people can play. That’s our second phase.
Then the third phase is turning the fountain in front of the theater into a jet fountain. It’ll be an interactive fountain for kids to play in starting in 2018. It’ll be right across from our 9/11 Memorial.
SCL: This is a long-range plan, right?
SCOTT: Not really; we’re planning on having this all completed by late spring 2018, including some painting, resurfacing, and installing security cameras to add to our well-lit place to shop for our guests.