Hundreds gathered in Plant City at the very start of the month as the entire nation was rocked by the echoing calls for justice for George Floyd. The initial march began just before 5 p.m. and lasted for more than four hours. And the marches continued week after week. Many stuck to the traditional route of meeting on James L. Redman and walking down Alexander Street to Plant City Police Department, however, a few were held in other areas including a march in historic downtown.
City leaders sat down with members of the community in a roundtable discussion to talk about concerns regarding the police’s interactions with the public and to talk about the steps the city should take in partnership with the community moving forward. During that meeting Mayor Rick Lott announced the city had removed the Confederate Cow Cavalry monument at the 1914 museum, vowing it would not remain in Plant City.
Around the country, businesses, organizations and residents faced growing economic uncertainty. The food bank continued to face a rising demand, unemployment began reaching drastically increased numbers and local groups, like the GFWC Woman’s Club of Plant City (pictured), continued to attempt to alleviate some of that stress with food drives and donations. In hopes of helping boost the economy for local downtown merchants, Plant City Main Street launched its Downtown Dollars program, which allowed the community to purchase the “bucks” for $5 and redeem them for $10 off a purchase at a participating business.
A mask mandate was put into place — an order that is still in place to this day.
After a few months of lockdown, many began to find new ways to hold their traditions. A local Eagle Scout was one of the first to have an altered ceremony. Eryk Chazares’ Eagle Scout Court of Honor event was the first in all of Tampa Bay-area history to be held outdoors.
Downtown received some fresh banners thanks to the Arts Council of Plant City and Plant City Main Street. Business owners in downtown banded together to form the new Downtown Merchants Committee with Plant City Main Street.