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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Multiple Marion County residents share thoughts on bringing more businesses to Ocala

Several Marion County residents wrote in to voice their support for new businesses and continued growth in Ocala/Marion County:

“Regarding all those who are sick and tired of the growth here in Ocala, I’ve been a resident here for 20 years and have seen growth, but I have not seen enough. Ocala is a perfect spot for more industry and big box stores. It’s right off the expressway and would be great for transportation. We also need an international airport with all this growth. People are always finding ways to get to Orlando or Tampa. You can forget Gainesville, there are not many straight-through flights. And the bottom line here is our children. We need to keep them here with an opportunity for good paying jobs. Sure, there are a lot of jobs, but not many ‘living wage’ ones. To those who frown and complain about the growth here in Ocala, move to a small town away from an interstate,” says Debra Holcomb, Ocala resident.

“I lived in Ocala for 35-plus years. We came when nothing was here but horse farms and cattle grazing where easy street is now. Back then, people were wanting more. We had leadership that wanted to keep us suppressed. There was no shopping, we had the Paddock Mall and that was about it. We had nothing as far as restaurants like we do now. I like the growth and I like the jobs that are coming to this area. We have families moving here, its not just retirees. The medical care is growing and we have some of the best. I see Dunnellon growing. People and families are moving into this area, not just retirees. They travel into Ocala for jobs. We need more of the restaurants and shopping to come further down SW 200, it’s too centralized off SR 200 and I-75. We need four-lane roads from SR 40 and SR 41 because it is very congested. Growth is good and it’s here to stay,” says Dunnellon resident Barbara South.

Not everyone is in favor of continued growth:

“You want a Costco? Sure, keep it in The Villages since it seems they do not mind a crowded town. Yes, you would be amazed how many prefer a ghost town to the noise, crime, overcrowding, mass traffic, and other nonsense that we do not want. We have Sam’s, and for those of us who have to drive in that area, the traffic is terrible. A Costco? Yeah, build it on the outskirts of our city, way out on the outskirts. We will attend meetings and contact our city officials because this growth thing has to stop somewhere. Enough is enough. If you people want a big city life so badly, you are living in the wrong County. We like it old and slow, and we are not going anywhere, so bye bye,” says Ocala resident Marta Varnell.

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