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Gerry Mulligan, Florida regional manager of LCNI and publisher of the Citrus County Chronicle and the four publications that make up the Levy Newspaper Group, was the special guest speaker at the Greater Chiefland Area Chamber of Commerce's monthly meeting Oct. 25.
Mulligan, based in the offices of the Citrus County Chronicle, came to Levy County to speak about the importance of community and business involvement in planning for future growth in rural counties.
The population of Citrus County has quadrupled in the time he's been there, he said, and with that comes difficulty in maintaining close ties with business and community leaders.
"I know you're going through the same things, many of the things we went through 30 years ago," though, he added, Levy County, so far, seems to be headed in a better direction.
Mulligan stressed the importance of locating businesses in proper locations, investing in infrastructure, libraries and schools and looking out for the environment, a major draw for tourists in both Citrus and Levy counties. Attracting health facilities is another important thing to focus on, he said, especially considering that many of the people moving to Florida are retirees.
Plans for a hospital in Chiefland have fallen through, but Mulligan said the community should be adamant in its pursuits of such facilities.
"Go out and continue to hammer on that."
Community newspapers are an important resource for all of these types of efforts, he said.
"We stay relevant in the communities we serve," he said. "We serve the communities where we have our newspapers."