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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Ocala residents share thoughts on city’s growth and transportation needs

In a response to recent Letters to the Editor discussing Ocala’s growth and transportation needs, Ocala residents chimed in and shared their thoughts on the topic:

“I would absolutely love to have the trains come to Ocala along with a station stop. My husband and I have family and friends in South Florida and like to see them if not for the long, tedious four hour back-and-forth trip. We also have family in the northern corridor of the U.S., and if we had a train station we would be able to take it and go up north instead of driving (or taking a chance on flying with hopes that the flight won’t be canceled). The train would alleviate so much traffic on highways going north/south and help with the Clean Air Act. We, in Ocala, should consider doing our part in helping the next generation with a clean environment,” says Ocala resident Theresa D’Alessandro.

“To the lady who previously stated that the transportation growth is taking away from Ocala’s horse country, I’m wondering if she has been out of her house or actually reads the articles in the paper. Every week, something else is coming to Ocala – more housing projects, apartment buildings, restaurants, car washes. When I first came here, it was ten minutes down SR 200 to the mall, now it takes 20-plus minutes. Ocala is an up-and-coming town which means keeping up. More activities for teens to keep them out of trouble, better transportation for our seniors to have access to get around. Airplanes – how nice would it be to hop on a plane to a larger city with a connecting flight instead of Tampa, Orlando, or Jacksonville. Even Gainesville has a small airport which is a little more convenient, but still an hour-plus with interstate traffic. The horse farms are not as prominent as they once were. One has a land rover dealer and looking to build more, and part is also homes and a 7-11. The large open field by the airport is more homes and a charter school. If you’re going to have all this growth than you need more transportation or else no one will go anywhere fast. Your horse country was a previous beautiful time but time has marched on, and to a different drummer,” says Anita Smith, Ocala resident.

“I have six months in Ocala. I like this town, I have two special needs children. They are autistic, but I had Pulmonary Sarcoidosis. My pulmonary doctor has been in Miami for many years and my ex-wife has bipolar problems and her doctor is in Miami. I understand many people don’t like aircraft noises. I love my life here, this is a beautiful place and very cheap, but I know that many Ocala residents want commercial flights like me. I have to travel to Miami every six months and my ex-wife too. I have my family in New York City. My mother had Alzheimer’s for around five years, it was very complicated when we had to travel to New York or Miami. I had to drive many hours. Once again, I understand many people, they don’t want commercial flights, but other people like me have family far from Ocala,” says Ocala resident Francisco Lantigua, Sr.

“If you are moving to Florida and looking for a busy nightlife, a jet-setting crowd, and a party town, look for a place that has those types of venues as a part of its makeup and background. The Marion County/Ocala area is known for its serene beauty and for being the ‘Horse Capital’ of the world, at least this portion of it. I moved here in 2014 for my wife to be near her sister after having moved all over the country and across the Atlantic Ocean with me while I was in the U.S. Navy for 22 years. This is a nice, quiet area with beautiful scenery and some magnificent horses. These are the reasons many people move here and come to visit here. If this is not what you enjoy, please find somewhere else to move to. Do not try to move here and interject loud, unnecessary, large city transportation nightmares into this beautiful small-city atmosphere. The things you are looking for are available in places like Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and several other large cities in this wonderful state. Do not attempt to pollute our small patch of pleasure with the ills of the larger cities,”says Charles Vroman, Ocala resident.

Would you like to share your thoughts with us? Share them in a comment or by writing a Letter to the Editor.