Residents from Ocala and Dunnellon wrote in to share their thoughts and concerns regarding growth in the Ocala/Marion County area:
“Everyone wants the kind of restaurants and shopping that they had where they lived before moving to “slow” Ocala, but no one wants more roads or taxes to keep up with the growth they want. Ocala/Marion County and the state of Florida need more roads now. Have you tried to get to anywhere on 200 past I-75? I am 73, was born in Ocala, and the growth I have seen is unbelievable. We have plenty of nice restaurants. And yes, competition for our current businesses like Sam’s and Publix would be nice, but we need roads and more affordable housing for the people who will work in those businesses. Ocala always seems to put the cart before the horse. We have some very nice restaurants in downtown Ocala, but there is no parking, especially for people who have a hard time walking. And now the city has taken a step backwards by taking out the traffic lights. It has become dangerous to walk or drive downtown. I have witnessed many drivers run the stop signs, and this is dangerous to the pedestrians and other drivers. Our parking garage is now mostly reserved for the hotel, so you drive around and around, and finally you just give up and go home or to Longhorn or another restaurant. Let’s fix the parking and roads before we encourage any more businesses to come to Ocala/Marion County,” says Ocala resident Pat Savage.
“I have been in Ocala/Dunnellon for over 30 years. I came here to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, traffic, noise, crime, and pollution. I’ve enjoyed the peaceful beauty of Marion County ever since. I’ve also heard a lot of complaints about “there’s nothing to do here,” “I hate it here,” and “there are no good paying jobs”. I agree, and some of the young people who grew up here, or have been here for years and need more, are absolutely right. However, I see we need better transportation. More businesses, etc. What sticks in my craw (Seniorish word) is newcomers old and young complaining about the same things. Why did you come here? Why are you staying? Why do you think the horse farms are a scam? You hate the way we talk. There are too many old people and they need to move out. Progress is inevitable and I can deal with that, but how about a little respect for those who are here, have been here, and hope to stay here. Yep, we need bigger, better, and more, but don’t tell me how to live. Don’t shove progress down my throat and celebrate progress while threatening to rip through my neighborhood and disrupting the beauty I moved here for. Everything doesn’t have to be done now. Do it responsibly and step back, take a breath, work together, and figure out what works for everyone, not just one group of people. We don’t need another car wash or gas station or fast food restaurant, and certainly not a theme park. And if you hate it here so much, move. Go back to where you came from and be happier than you are here,” says Di’Anna Bennis, Dunnellon resident.
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