How It Began

An initial group of members of Leadership Citrus formed a Steering Committee to set about bringing together individuals who would represent the diverse elements of the county and to begin charting the future in terms of a vision. Such a plan for the future was deemed critical for Citrus County to control its own destiny and to remain a desirable place to live. In the face of significant changes, such as the rapidly increasing population, the proposed Suncoast Parkway connecting us to Tampa Bay, and evidence of stress to natural systems (water and land), the steering committee felt action on a vision must begin immediately through the collective effort of all affected.

They called it Citrus 20/20
The Steering Committee called the process Citrus 20/20. Their guiding philosophy was to bring 130-140 participants from all walks of life together to begin brainstorming about where the county should be in 25 years - the year 2020 A.D.  That group of citizens came together in three sessions during early 1995. The final two sessions lasted a full day and a half each. Many of the diverse group of participants had been at odds with their fellow visionaries on various issues and had never sat down together to discuss anything. Yet in a forthright and earnest spirit of cooperation, and with the help of professional facilitators, they enthusiastically fashioned the initial elements of the vision.

FOUNDATION AND PREAMBLE


In 1995, Citrus 20/20 found what is treasured most in Citrus County is the unique and irreplaceable wealth of the county's natural resources, from trees to parks and preserves to greenbelts.

Our indigenous natural resources need to be maintained and restored for future generations. More particularly, we treasure the water resources in our county's lakes, springs, rivers and estuaries along the gulf, as well as the inter-related underground aquifer that supplies them and gives us our drinking water.

We treasure our education system with its growing potential and its ability to meet the changing needs of our young people and residents. Our small town atmosphere, the rich people-resources of our diverse population, our low crime rate and extensive community involvement all make Citrus County the special place that it is. 
We recognize that our future economic and physical well-being, our desire for managed growth, and our semi-rural ambience depend upon our ability to take a balanced stand. It is for this purpose that we create this Vision Statement to help chart that course.


Citrus 20/20 was the vision of Leadership Citrus’s class of 1994.  The 15-member class comprised of Donald Beaudette, Debbie Borland, Bruce Banning, Avis Marie Craig, Kevin Cunningham, Karen Dixon, Zana Ennis, Janet Herndon, Jim Hofmeister, Linda Miller, Steve Nass, Lynne Oliver, Chris Ordway, Mike Reed, and Marie Straight recognized that major changes were inevitable due to the growth the county experienced from 1980 to 1994 where the population nearly doubled from 54,000 to 100,000.

The 1994 Leadership Class decided to take a proactive stance where Chairman Avis Marie Craig stated that, “we have a limited opportunity to come together to craft our own destiny before the future just happens to us”.  This class laid the foundation for Citrus 20/20, Inc. to help steer the county where by the year 2020, Citrus County will have become a place where nature and man live in harmony recognizing the treasures of the County:  the people who form a caring community, the sense of safety and security a small town offers, the excellent education system, and the clean water resources.

Citrus County residents identified 10 components that would affect the success of the county:  education; social needs; growth management; infrastructure; government and public/private partnerships; economic development; youth needs; nature and man; identity, culture, and society; and eco-tourism.  Since its inception, Citrus 20/20, Inc. has faithfully reached out to the residents for their inputs and visions for the county through their county-wide Vision Checks and through many of the programs they sponsor and support that advance “the vision” such as education, Recycling, Teen Stock, Teen Stock, Keep Citrus County Beautiful, and Save Our Waters Week.

Six Major Accomplishments of Citrus 20/20

Water Quality Referendum
Citrus 20/20, Inc. teamed with the Board of County Commissioners to promote passage of a one-cent sales tax in 1997 dedicated to water quality projects.  While the referendum failed, the high profile debate served as a springboard to the County’s water quality efforts including the extension of sewer to Homosassa, water and sewer to Chassahowitzka, expansion and conversion of the Meadowcrest wastewater plant to reuse and numerous storm water retrofits throughout the County.

Save Our Waters Week
Citrus 20/20 in partnership with FDEP, the SWFWMD and the County established Save Our Waters Week in September 1996. Save Our Waters has grown into a major community event with activities and events scheduled throughout the week.

Academy of Environmental Science
Due to reduced funding of the Marine Science Station, a support group was formed with the assistance of Citrus 20/20, Inc.  The Friends of the Nature Coast Marine and Environmental Science Center facilitated the enhancement and refurbishment of the Marine Science Station. In addition, in partnership with the City of Crystal River, the Friends obtained a Florida Community Trust grant to purchase the former Salt 44 Condominium complex for environmental education.  In time, a public charter school titled the Academy of Environmental Science was created which provides focused hands-on based curriculum to high school students.

Historic Hernando School
The former Hernando Elementary School was replaced by a new facility on CR 486 and Croft Avenue and thus was in the process of being declared surplus property.  Former Citrus 20/20 Board member Ansel Briggs solicited Citrus 20/20’s assistance in having the property recognized as a historic structure and the ownership transferred to the Board of County Commissioners for conversion to a community center.

Environmental Homeowner’s Guide
In cooperation with the County and SWFWMD, Citrus 20/20 developed an Environmental Homeowner’s Guide, which was printed and distributed with a SWFWMD mini-grant.  The entire guide is currently available on the County’s website.

Citrus County Recycles!
Working with Keep Citrus County Beautiful, Citrus 20/20 helped to established in 2011 a countywide recycling event.  The main goal for the event was to education the community on the benefits of recycling.

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