Osceola Trak, which will serve as a connection between Tuscawilla Park and downtown Ocala, will open to the public on Thursday, Nov. 14.
The state funded project cost $1.2 million-dollars to complete. Considered a “linear park system,” the pathway will connect Tuscawilla Park with the Ocala Downtown Market. The project is part of a collection of improvements being made to the downtown, which will see additional restaurants and businesses, including the hotel, open in the coming weeks.
The Ocala Downtown market regularly plays host to a variety of events, including Ocala Eats food truck events on Thursdays and a weekly Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.
The new multi-modal system will provide wider, well-lit pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular lanes that stretch from the park and its art offerings, located at 213 NE 5th St, to the downtown market that sits adjacent to the Ocala Chamber and Economic Partnership at 310 SE 3rd St.
The official park opening celebration will include a ceremonial ribbon cutting, a walking tour, and a fire bell unveiling with members of the Ocala City Council, the Mayor and honored guests. The ceremony will begin at 4:00 p.m. with opening remarks followed by the ribbon cutting.
Guests are encouraged to arrive between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. to tour the Magnolia Art Exchange (MAX) located at 531 NE First Ave. Following the ribbon cutting, guests will be invited to a guided walking tour to the south end of the track for an unveiling ceremony.
At 4:30 p.m. Ocala Fire Rescue will host the unveiling of the city’s fire bell, celebrating the return of the historic bell to its original location at the intersection of SE Broadway Street and SE Osceola Avenue, where Ocala’s original fire house once stood.
The public is invited to attend and attendees are encouraged to park at City Hall. Complimentary shuttle service from the city hall parking area to Tuscawilla Park will depart every 15 minutes between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. This event will happen rain or shine.
The city has also released details on the parking around the new park, including the following prohibitions: Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle on a sidewalk. Section 66-69 City of Ocala Code of Ordinance – No person shall park a vehicle at any time on any of the following parts of streets, sidewalks or sidewalk areas or city-owned or leased and operated parking lots, where signs are erected giving notice thereof.
Vehicles that violate the ordinance will receive a verbal warning before receiving a $25 parking citation for subsequent offenses.
Signage will be in place to remind drivers the Osceola Trak is a designated city park and should not be used as a parking area.
For more information on the park, visit the City of Ocala website.