Justin Ferrara/Guest Column to the Chronicle
Recently, Florida’s growing population surpassed New York, making us the nation’s third most populous state. Citrus County has shared in Central Florida’s evolution from a largely rural region to a flourishing community where tourism and urbanization contribute to our economic revitalization, while simultaneously straining our infrastructure system.
We are all endeavoring to accommodate the stressors of an ever-growing population. According to the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research (2018), Citrus County’s population could increase by over 10% to reach 161,100 residents by 2030. The bureau estimates the state of Florida may exceed 22 million residents as early as 2022.
Additionally, surrounding counties such as Marion, Sumter, and Hernando will all experience significant population increases during the same period. The upcoming completion of the Suncoast Parkway’s expansion into our community, and its subsequent move to the north, will transform the landscape of Citrus County.
Florida’s progress brings both opportunities and potential challenges as Citrus County finds itself at a crucial crossroads trying to balance development and maintaining our natural resources.
By Nancy Kennedy, Citrus County Chronicle
Successful communities don’t happen by accident — it takes input and a buy-in from everyone.
With that in mind, the steering committee of Vision Check 2030 invites the public to a kick-off mixer from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at Lollygaggers Sports Pub, 744 U.S. 19, Crystal River (in the same plaza as Harbor Freight Tools).
Cash bar — light appetizers will be served.
This is an opportunity to meet the people on the steering committee, ask questions — and volunteer.
It’s also a fundraising event. Tip jars will be available to collect cash and/or business sponsorship checks.
Funds raised will go to cover the cost of the upcoming Vision Check 2030 event Saturday, Oct. 5, at the College of Central Florida (CF).
At that time, the public will be able to help identify issues that are critical to the county’s future, just the group Citrus 20/20 did back in the 1990s.
Businesses interested in sponsoring Vision Check 2030 or for more information, email Ardath Prendergast at email@example.com.
Making a healthier community
Special to the Chronicle - Editorial Section
THE ISSUE: Health in All Policies is about creating a healthy, livable community.
OUR OPINION: Be part of making it happen.
The term “Health in All Policies” may be new to most of us in Citrus County, but it’s a concept that many locations have adopted throughout Florida, as well as across the nation and even the world.
As a recent Chronicle guest column noted, Health in All Policies (HiAP) is about people being aware of what constitutes a healthy community — including physical and social determinants of health — and ensuring through education and advocacy that decision-makers in all areas adopt “health in all policies” thinking. HiAP is a collaborative approach to improving the health of all people by incorporating health considerations into decision-making across all sectors and policy areas.
Citrus County will be hearing that term more and more, as people in a variety of community sectors start bending their thinking in that direction, and as the Citrus 2030 community visioning project solicits input for how to build a healthy, livable Citrus County community.
Ardath Prendergast/GUEST COLUMN to the Chronicle
In many communities, it seems art and culture are the last items people focus on when determining what is most important among the many priorities they must choose from.
But think about it: When communities DO choose the arts, they thrive. The arts open the door to beauty, creativity, critical thinking, mental and physical health, and a sense of well-being. Communities that welcome the essential role that arts and culture play in the community are more vibrant to live in and to visit.
Since the Citrus 20/20 plan was developed 25 years ago, Citrus County has made strides in the arts. Lecanto High School boasts a strong School of Art, Citrus High has its Drama Club, the Art Center in Hernando stays busy hosting art exhibits, workshops, plays and music. The elegant Valerie Theatre is a showpiece in downtown Inverness, and the Old Courthouse Museum has exhibited stellar works from the Smithsonian and other museums. Public murals are sprouting up in Crystal River, Inverness, Floral City and Homosassa.
And yet, it is still difficult for many to see the economic and educational value of the arts.
Rebecca Martin/Special to the Chronicle
When someone mentions “health” what comes to mind?
For most, it’s the physical manifestation of health — how’s your body doing; are your allergies acting up; do you still have that headache; did you sprain your ankle when you tripped, and so on.
But “health” is really an all-encompassing idea, one that engages not just individuals but entire communities. That’s what community members in the “Health and Social Needs” aspiration focus group will discuss during the Citrus 2030 community visioning event.
The focus is a concept called “Health in All Policies” (HiAP).
It is about people being aware of what constitutes a healthy community — including physical and social determinants of health — and ensuring through education and advocacy that decision-makers in all areas adopt a “health in all policies” approach.
The HiAP is a collaborative approach to improving the health of all people by incorporating health considerations into decision-making across all sectors and policy areas.
What does this mean in a practical sense?
Source: Citrus County Chronicle Sound Off
Thank you, Josh Wooten, for the (guest column titled "Shaping Citrus County's economic future" in) Commentary in Sunday's, Aug. 11, Chronicle, for your outlook to the prevention of Great Recession 2 and the possible effects on Citrus County. Those 10 years that you indicated in your commentary had the most devastating economic results -- especially in Citrus County -- since I arrived on this planet from Mars in 1934 during the Great Depression. We do not need the declining property values, foreclosures, closed businesses and shopping centers if we can prevent it. Hats off to Janice Warren, David Reed, the Chamber of Commerce and the entire Citrus 2030 Committee. Let's look at a broad range of things such as inadequate boat ramps, four-laning of County Road 491 and other infrastructure needs. Let's not hear words like "Great Recession" again if we can prevent it. And thank you, Chronicle, for 125 years and the role you play.
Special to the Chronicle
Citrus 2030 Organizers will speak to the Homosassa River Republican Club 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 20 at Marguerita Grill on Halls River Road.
Citrus 2030 is an upcoming daylong event -- Destiny by Design, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at the College of Central Florida in Lecanto. At the event, citizen stakeholders will come together to chart the county's course.
Citrus County's Tax Collector Janice Warren and local YMCA Operations Director David Reed, are leading this effort and will explain the details.
Citizens need a voice in that future, which is why CITRUS 2030 was conceived. This is a grassroots driven effort, fashioned after an earlier 1995 Citrus 2020 Visioning project and draws upon the Florida Chamber Foundation's "Florida 2030 Project."
Registration is required for the Citrus 2030 event and is due by Sept. 6. For more information, visit www.citrus2030.org.
Josh Wooten/Special to the Chronicle
For several decades, Citrus County’s economy has centered on the Crystal River energy complex, home-building, tourism, health care, and service- based industries.
While we are blessed to have this core base for employment opportunities, the economic recession that hit Citrus County so hard 10 years ago and took our community much longer to recover from than many other regions, gives cause to raising questions about our county’s economic future.
Is Citrus County’s economy diversified enough? Are we more susceptible to downturns and recessions than other areas of the state and nation? Do we have enough industry that sustains our community and pays a living wage? Can we hold on to the talented young people who graduate from our excellent schools and give them opportunities to remain in Citrus County to develop into our future leaders?