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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Marion County park design contest looking for youth, adult entries

The Marion County Parks and Recreation Department is looking for entries for a new park design contest running through the end of the month.

The theme for this year’s competition is “Our Park and Recreation Story.” Entrants are encouraged to submit a dream park design, including a short story about your park. In that story, please include the following: Who the park is for, where the park is located, what size the park is, and one unique feature about the park.

Not short on natural beauty or parks, Marion County and Ocala offer a bevy of locations that satisfy hikers, runners, cyclists, bird watchers, and almost every other hobbyist’s dream.

Although the following are all parks located and managed within the city of Ocala, they illustrate a small portion of the types of parks and features one might consider including in a potential design.

Ocala Wetland Recharge Park is one of the newest additions to that group. Among the tens of thousands of visitors that the park has attracted since it opened, bird watchers from near and far have “flocked” to see the wide variety of birds that frequent its paths, trees, and ponds.

American ibises at Ocala Wetland Recharge Park
American ibises on the boardwalk at Ocala Wetland Recharge Park

The Ocala Skate Park is one of the largest of its kind in North Central Florida, and boasts a variety of landscapes for both skateboard and rollerskating enthusiasts. The park is covered with decorative elements that lend themselves to the skating world, and is situated right next to Tuscawilla Park and the Reilly Arts Center.

The new Ocala Skatepark welcomes skaters of all ages
The new Ocala Skatepark welcomes skaters of all ages

This year’s contest is split into two age divisions for youth and adult entries, and winners will be determined in the following categories: Most Creative, Most Realistic, Most Unique, and Staff Choice.

Submissions for the competition are due by July 29, and all winners will be announced on July 30.

Submit your entries by visiting the Marion County Parks and Recreation webpage and sending an email.

Entries may also be submitted to the Marion County Parks and Recreation office located at 111 SE 25th Avenue.