For Erin Silk, Venice is both brand-new and familiar. Silk moved here full-time in 2015 from Baltimore to become CEO of Venice MainStreet, the nonprofit that champions downtown as a vibrant historic destination. But she’s been vacationing here for years to visit her grandparents, who moved here more than 20 years ago. Among Silk’s responsibilities are overseeing Venice MainStreet’s special events and working with city and county governments. “A lot of people move here when they retire, but I’m blessed to be living and working here,” she says. “I love it.” ―ILENE DENTON.
Every Day is Different
“It’s anything from working a children’s event or riding in the fire truck with Santa to being involved with Visit Sarasota County. This afternoon I’m going to do an inventory of our light poles because we’re looking to put up more banners. And I just joined the board of the Tourist Development Council [the advisory board that recommends tourism policy to the board of Sarasota county commissioners and oversees bed tax revenues].”
I’ve Always Been Attracted To Nonprofits
“I volunteered through high school and college, mostly for animal welfare groups. When I was 19 I started a nonprofit, Needy Paws Rescue. It was a good learning experience. When I go to work each day, I have to feel I’m making an impact.”
2018 Will Be Interesting Downtown
“From April to November, all our streets will be reconstructed, 75 percent of our sidewalks will be redone, and we’ll get drainage improvements and new landscaping. Our primary focus is getting businesses prepared. We plan to tell people we really need them to keep coming downtown to buy local during this time.”
I Try To Stay Active
“I like to do anything in nature: kayaking the Myakka River, out to Snake Island, the Intracoastal Waterway. I enjoy biking on the Legacy Trail. I don’t really enjoy running, but I spend a lot of time doing it. And I enjoy day trips to other MainStreet communities. There are 50 in Florida, places like Crystal River, Deland, Fernandina Beach. I always compare them to Venice, and we’re the best.”
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