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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Ocala resident weighs in on airport expansion, grocer options

To the Editor:

When we moved to Ocala five years ago, what we found so wonderful was that it was a smaller city filled with beautiful parks, nice shops, a lovely and quaint downtown, and good people.

It always amazes me when I hear newcomers to our beautiful community complain about the lack of a larger airport and the lack of Costco, Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods. Unless one was transferred here due to their career, why would a person move here and then start complaining about Ocala?

Here’s a few rather important things to think about for those who want a larger airport or a Costco.

Before a corporation like Costco opens in a community, they do studies to determine if there’s a sufficient customer base to make it worth their considerable investment. They need to acquire land, go through the permitting process, traffic studies, and many other steps before they even break group, let alone open for business.

We’re talking a couple million dollars out of pocket before they ring the first sale. And the process doesn’t happen overnight.

Much like expanding our airport, just wanting a larger airport doesn’t cause one to materialize. The cost of getting that larger airport some dream of, yearn for, think they cannot live without, is many millions of dollars. How that investment is funded may be through raising a bond. And again, before anything else, there’s feasibility studies and a series of local, state, and federal hoops to be jumped through.

Perhaps I’m in the minority. However, I question whether there’s the overall confidence in our economy in the near-to-mid term for either project to be financially viable.

So, in the meantime, to my fellow neighbors here in Ocala, enjoy what we have: a wonderful, beautiful community. We have Sam’s Club, Earth Fare, theaters, parks, and lovely pastures filled with some of the finest horses in the country – some might say, world. We live in a beautiful city with great people – some who have been here decades or even generations, and some like myself are a newcomer. But all of us are blessed to call Ocala, this gem of a small city, home.

Nia Lee
Ocala resident

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