Cedar Key is Florida’s number one community

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By Kellie Parkin

The USDA has named the City of Cedar Key as Florida’s Rural Community of the Year for 2009.

Located on the Gulf Coast of Levy County, Cedar Key’s belief in partnering to protect the community’s history, environment and working people peaked the interest of UDSA Rural Development, and led to the award that will be officially presented the community next week.

The title would not have been possible without the help of the city’s partners, said Greg Lang, Director of the Cedar Key Community Redevelopment Agency. “We wouldn’t be able to achieve anything without our partners like the USDA, the Suwannee River Water Management District, the DEP, and all the others that help us make Cedar Key a better place to live and visit.”

A small working waterfront community, the city of Cedar Key and the CRA have worked with many entities in recent years to bring improvements to the community, for example adding much needed water connection and fire hydrants to the airport area with the help of the Cedar Key Water and Sewer District and the Levy County Board of County Commissioners.

“This award affirms that we are good partners – that we can partner well with other entities to bring great things to the community.”

Lang said he hopes the designation will yield great things for the city by attracting more visitors. “We want this to benefit the businesses in town,” he said. “We want people to come to Cedar Key and see for themselves the pristine waters, the friendly atmosphere, and experience the beautiful environment.”

The city will join local businesses and community members to welcome state and federal officials, as well as island visitors, to honor the designation at an awards ceremony next Wednesday. The UDSA will officially present the city with the award and a road sign for posting at the city limits to notify visitors of the title. 

“Wednesday’s events are a way to say thank you to our partners and volunteers. We wouldn’t be here without them,” Lang said.

Mayor Sue Colson said the people of Cedar Key also deserve great credit. “The diversity of our people is the key to our success,” Colson said. “We balance the protection of our abundant natural resources and our rich history. Tourists are attracted from all over the world (to) experience our unspoiled charm. This award is a great honor and a testament to the spirit of cooperation in our community.”

The awards ceremony will be held Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m. in front of City Hall, followed by a homemade-desserts social. For more information, contact event coordinator Andrea Dennison at (352) 543-6313 or cedarkeyachieves@live.com.