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Dade City civic leader leaves post

By CHASE SQUIRES

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 13, 2001


DADE CITY -- One of Downtown Dade City Main Street's driving forces for the past nine years, Executive Director Gail Hamilton, resigned Monday to explore new opportunities, the group's president announced.

"We're sad to see her go, but we're happy for her," Main Street President Robin Edwards said. "She has just outgrown us."

Hamilton, 41, is a familiar figure throughout downtown, coordinating not only the agency's signature events such as Christmas in July, Monster Mash and the Country Christmas Stroll, but also pitching in to help events sponsored by other groups.

When merchants David Hevia and J.R. Harrelson came up with an idea for a bicycle race through downtown's busy streets, Hamilton was among the supporters, attending organizational meetings and pushing the project along.

When businessmen Bob Case and Pete Odom brought the popular monthly classic car cruise-ins to town, Hamilton was a supporter.

When other organizations pitch downtown events, they often end up at Hamilton's door, looking for advice.

She was even able to laugh at the projects that didn't fly, such as the ill-fated Jazz Festivals that fell prey to rain-outs year after year until the festival fizzled and died.

When she tried to stage a downtown music festival in September, she ended up with a hurricane.

She eventually came to joke that she would never try to stage another musical outing.

Edwards said Hamilton left on good terms with the board and the community.

Hamilton, so often called to comment publicly on community concerns, could not be reached for comment on her departure Monday.

Edwards said the search for a new director would begin with a Main Street board meeting Thursday.

"Her zeal for Dade City and its downtown will be missed," Edwards wrote in a farewell news release Monday. "Working with the Main Street board and its dedicated volunteers, she has made a real contribution."

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