1000 Friends of Florida recognized the late Gary Maidhof with its 2013 Community Steward Award for his inspirational leadership on conservation and springs protection in Citrus County. Gary Maidhof was nominated by the Citrus County Commission and Gerry Mulligan, the publisher of the local community newspaper, for this award which was presented at the Commission’s June 25 meeting. Click here to see a broadcast of the award presentation.
“Gary Maidhof was involved in every facet of conservation planning, including comprehensive planning, visioning, best management practices, ordinances and more” noted 1000 Friends of Florida President Charles Pattison. “He was recognized throughout the state for his leadership on spring’s protection planning in Citrus County and beyond.”
“There is not an inch of Citrus County that Gary did not touch,” according to Joe Meek, Chairman of the Citrus County Board of County Commissioner. “He had a hand in planning, building, and shaping this County to what it is today. The best thing was – he always did it with a smile and brought humor to even the most tense situations.”
“Gary was the encyclopedia of government regulation and development history in Citrus County,” noted Gerry Mulligan, Publisher of the Citrus County Chronicle. “He wrote the rules, interpreted the bureaucracy and made good things happen.”
Avis Marie Craig with the Citrus County Property Appraiser’s office explained, “When I first saw the announcement seeking nominations for this award, it shouted off the page “Nominate Gary Maidhof.” She continued, “Preparing this nomination package was a joy and became a wonderful treasure hunt because his fingerprints are everywhere in Citrus County. He worked tirelessly behind the scenes to keep Citrus County the jewel of the nature coast.”
Maidhof spent over 30 years with Citrus County, starting as a Sanitarian with the Health Department and progressing to Environmental Specialist, Senior Planner, Environmental Planner, Director of Development Services and Operations and Projects Officer for the County. He was instrumental in development of the County’s comprehensive plan, including The Manatee Element. A valued member of the Governor’s Springs Protection Task Force, he also developed local spring’s protection amendments that were incorporated into the Coastal Rivers and Lake Management Element and Conservation Element of the comprehensive plan.
The driving force behind county government’s adoption of best management practices’ regulations for water protection, Maidhof also jump started an endeavor to get the City and County to work cooperatively on a central sewer project in an environmentally sensitive area. He fathered the county’s first “gray water” project and tree ordinance.
A longstanding director of the not-for-profit visioning organization, Citrus 20/20, he helped found the group’s annual “Save our Waters Week”, instituted in 1996 to focus public awareness, education and consensus to protect county waters. He helped lead negotiations for public ownership of the Three Sisters Spring, protecting it from development. He was named 1998 Citizen of the Year by the Citrus County Chronicle and 2011 Person of the Year by the Citrus County Economic Development Council.
Jim Stevenson, who served as the Chairman of the Governor’s Springs Protection Task Force, noted that Maidhof served as the Task Force’s local government representative and guided the Citrus County Commissioners on the enactment of policies that contributed to the protection of Citrus County springs. “He was my go-to guy on local government matters and always stood ready to give us valued advice,” explained Stevenson.
1000 Friends of Florida thanks the sponsors of the 2013 Better Community Awards:
Florida League of Cities
Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC
Theriaque & Spain
Fowler White Boggs, P.A.
American Planning Association, Florida Chapter
Ronald Book, PA
Senator Bob Graham
Tallahassee State Bank