The City of Eustis, Florida was established in 1883 in the heart of Lake County. When John Angus MacDonald began luring settlers to Central Florida in the 1870’s, the eastern shoreline along Lake Eustis was a perfect site for development. Beautiful views, pristine environments and flawless weather made Eustis ideally suited for tourism and the citrus industry. Men with historic names like Ferran, Gottsche, Pendry, Clifford and Lane were but a few who could envision the area’s potential.
Today, Eustis is a friendly hometown covering approximately 11.4 square miles, a community for families, and a destination for arts and culture – reflecting its motto of Culture, Opportunity, and Vitality. Eustis has a thriving downtown, a beautiful waterfront, and quality neighborhoods. It is an ideal home for small businesses. Residents enjoy the natural resources, beauty, opportunities for an active life style, and easy movement within the City and to the region.
At a glance...
- Incorporated: 1883
- Population: 19,432
- Government: Council-Manager
- Boundaries: 11.4 Square Miles
- Streets: 89 Miles
- Employees: 210 Full-Time / 39 Part-Time
- Millage Rate: 7.5810
The City’s commitment to the arts is impressive and provides a full menu of entertaining diversions. Residents and visitors take advantage of the many cultural and artistic offerings throughout the City. The Bay Street Players, draw over 20,000 people to downtown each year with their award-winning performances in the beautifully renovated 1922 Historic State Theatre in Downtown Eustis. The Lake Eustis Museum of Art and Eustis Historical Museum (Clifford House) are also nearby.
Eustis is proud of its heritage and its festivals. The First Friday Street Festivals attract thousands of residents and visitors each month to the historic downtown to enjoy food, friends, and live music. The George Washington Birthday Festival and Parade is the nation’s second longest running celebration of the first president’s birth. It is celebrated annually in February and is hosted by the Lake Eustis Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City. The African-American Heritage Festival and Parade is also one of the longest running celebrations in the region and is celebrated in February of each year. Eustis takes pride in being the home of many notable people, including U.S. Astronaut David Walker and Edgar J. Banks, a famous archeologist from the 1920s who lived a life comparable to today’s legendary fictional character, Indiana Jones.
In 1993, Eustis was designated a Florida Main Street City and its Main Street Program has resulted in lakefront improvements and additions, including new stores and restaurants. Downtown Eustis takes residents and visitors back to yesteryear. Shops, located on Magnolia Avenue and Eustis Street, overlook brick sidewalks and tree shaded benches.
The City is deeply committed to clean and green neighborhoods with well-maintained streets and sidewalks. Complementing the strong neighborhood philosophy are active community and regional parks with playground equipment. The prominent park in Eustis, considered its pride and joy, is Ferran Park. This jewel of the downtown area is ideally located on the shores of beautiful Lake Eustis. Beautifully landscaped, with walking paths and benches throughout, the park provides a glimpse into the City’s history, including the beautiful, restored sea wall running along the lakefront to the Mediterranean-style Alice McClelland Bandshell (listed on the national historic register) majestically located at the northern end of the park. Other facilities include a playground area, two gazebos, and picnic tables. Immediately adjacent to the park is the Eustis Aquatic Center, which includes a large pool and a new sailboat-themed splash pad, and the ever-popular Eustis Lake Walk. The Lake Walk, which extends for one-quarter mile along the shore, offers four gazebos with benches and 20 boat slips.
Eustis currently supports a population of more than 19,000 residents, with a median age of 41.9 years. The City has a diverse economy with businesses and industries in agricultural technology, food products, graphics, forest products, manufacturing and regional transportation. It is a welcoming atmosphere for entrepreneurship, small business, light manufacturing, sustainable technology, protection of the environment, and further development of the arts community as a viable business niche. A few of the major industries located in or near Eustis include Florida Food Products, Mercer Products, Inc., Service Trucking, U.S. Nutraceuticals, and AgriStarts.
A vital network of highways, including US 441, I-4, I-75, and the Florida Turnpike, is easily accessible, and Eustis is minutes away from the Leesburg Regional Airport and an hour from Orlando International Airport. The City’s leadership is also committed to taking full advantage of the natural attributes of Eustis by incorporating transportation plans for the future to link the neighborhoods and downtown in a usable, convenient, and sustainable manner.
A variety of excellent public and private schools and a public library, which celebrated its Centennial anniversary in 2002, are indicative of the value placed on education. Nearby, Lake-Sumter Community College, Lake Technical School, the University of Central Florida, Rollins College, Stetson University, St. Leo College, Nova Southeastern University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University provide paths for continued education.
Eustis is dedicated to delivering municipal services of the highest quality in a financially prudent and customer friendly manner. The City partners with several community-oriented organizations such as the Lake Eustis Area Chamber of Commerce, Eustis Historical Museum, Lake Eustis Institute, Lake Community Foundation, Bay Street Players, Lake Eustis Museum of Art, Trout Lake Nature Center, Lake Eustis Sailing Club, and the Inland Lakes Railway, to facilitate a wide variety of activities for residents, visitors, and businesses.
Eustis has received numerous awards for quality, financial acumen, and resource protection. The City was a Florida League of Cities Community of Excellence finalist in 2008; has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 27 consecutive years; has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association; was selected as the a Florida Tree City for the 24 consecutive years; and sets a standard for tree protection in being named a Tree City U.S.A. for 19 years.
The City of Eustis has been a proven leader in setting the standards in quality of life for its residents and visitors, not only in Lake County, but also the State of Florida. The Citizens of Eustis are proud of their special City with its many examples of dedicated work by countless volunteers, boards and staff who devote their time and talents to making this City one that is abundant in charm, history, culture and promise for the future.