Center Hill Florida

FEATURED LISTING: Florida ::: Center Hill

Early European settlers were simple folk focused on establishing a beach-head on their allotted territory. The Indian name of Pochechey did not sit well on their Caucasian tongues. The place was at a slight elevation and more or less midway through the County. It seemed in order to drop the Indian name forever and just say 'Center Hill'. This straight-forward approach worked and the name has stuck well, though the area has failed to make any sustained economic headway over the past century and more.

Center Hill is a relatively young and lower middle-class part of Sumter County in Florida . The median age of the population is below 30 years and the median income is only $ 30 thousand. The median home value is a little below $ 45 thousand. More than 40% of the adults have not finished High School and just 1% has professional degrees. Unemployment looms at 5%. The demographics are less than impressive and must cause some worry to County authorities. Center Hill needs direction and investment to remain as a viable place during the rest of this century.

Poor economic development has dogged Center Hill from its beginning. Records show that cash generation was so poor that even the most professional and rare of trades were conducted on barter. This 19th century pattern continued in to the 1930s, and at a time of rapid growth in other areas, even the local High School had to close down as there were too few students. The last census showed the population to be less than a thousand people. There was a brief period during which its legume production was in much demand, but a devastating fungus attack put an end to this growth path. There does not seem to have been any initiative to rebuild farm productivity or to diversify in to high value, niche crops. The bean production would have added plenty of nitrogen fixing colonies to the soil, but the advantage seems to have been frittered away.

The First Baptist Church and the Tuscanooga Baptist Church provide religious services to the local community. The Pure Church of Righteousness is a non-denominational place of worship on South Avenue. There is no major industry here, but some small enterprises operate on the fringes of farming. Timber, lumber and farm insurance are the kinds of modest vocations that provide a small number of livelihoods in the area. The economy appears to be in the doldrums and there are no signs of any winds of change.

Center Hill has an area of about 5 square miles. The place needs some imaginative planning with resources to match, in order to catch an express bus to high growth with jobs and prosperity. An answer may lie in its sub-tropical climate that keeps the temperature in the comfortable 70s from autumn to spring. Thundershowers and temperatures in the 90s prevail at the height of summer, but Center Hill has considerable tourist and vacation potential during the major part of the year. There is an adult care center and the city could consider providing a hospice, to copy its peers from other counties.

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