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Monday, January 24, 2022

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

In response to recent Letters to the Editor that discussed the transportation needs of the city’s growing community, Ocala residents wrote in and shared their thoughts and concerns on the topic:

“If this city wants to see an exodus of people leaving, keep up the building. You will have nothing but homes for sale. We moved to Ocala because of the quiet and beautiful surroundings. I moved up here from Fort Lauderdale because of that and I can move to another small town in Florida that does not want growth. I’m getting too old for greedy developers that build and take off with the county holding the bag,” says Ocala resident Mike Kaye.

“I have stated my reasons for not wanting trains, planes, or anything that would make our horse capital like any other major city. I get out often and travel throughout Marion County because of my work. I see the growth and it is leading to our beautiful serene county being like New York, Chicago, or any place similar. More crimes, more nonsense. Charter schools and airports causing more traffic situations which are not needed. Yes, I get out often and I obviously read, I am responding to this issue again. I, as well as many others, do not like the growth at all. Like I said before, investigate the city you want to move to before you move. If it does not fit your lifestyle, move some place that does. Stop trying to ruin the beauty of Marion County. We do not have to keep up with any other city just because times and things change. We are fine as we are,” says Marta Varnell, Ocala resident.

“I’m in favor of putting a Costco in Ocala. I can’t imagine having to drive an hour and a half to a Costco,” says Ocala resident Kathleen Guy.

“An Amtrak service in Ocala would really be great again. I had a few agencies ask about plane or train service. There are people who wish to hold conventions here but there is no closer means of transportation. We have to go to Tampa or Jacksonville to pick up and transport to Ocala. Then people realize: why go through these two cities to get to Ocala when we can just stay there. With the extra money to go to Ocala, we can use it in the other two more expensive cities. I think Ocala really needs to invest in getting Amtrak service back,” says Nicole Johnson, Ocala resident.

“I’ve been reading the letters about Ocala train service. Currently, Ocala is serviced by the Amtrak Thruway Bus Service. I’ve taken it for the northbound train and the southbound train. The bus pickup point was the old Ocala train station. The southbound bus route starts at the Jacksonville train station with stops at Waldo, Gainesville, Ocala, The Villages, Wildwood, and Dade City, ending at the Lakeland train station. The northbound bus route is the reverse of the southbound bus route, starting at Lakeland and ending in Jacksonville. The northbound bus is synchronized with the northbound 92 Silver Star train. The southbound bus is synchronized with the southbound 91 Silver Star train. It appears that published train timetables are not available on the Amtrak website, so you need to use the schedules selection to enter the ‘from’ and ‘to’ points and the date of travel. Ocala (OCA) is available via the schedules selector. Of course, all of this can be subject to change,” says Ocala resident Gregory Borter.

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