Several more residents submitted letters to share their thoughts and concerns regarding Ocala/Marion County’s growth.
“As a senior who has retired from busy and congested south Florida, I enjoy the friendly people and I appreciate access to our abundant natural areas that are a haven for wildlife like the endangered gopher turtle and the pileated woodpecker. All I see now is mass construction in the Ocala area, along with the destruction of areas with endangered wildlife. Our peaceful way of life is in peril. I’m afraid most of Florida is going to end up as an asphalt jungle,” says Ocala resident Janis Keller.
“I don’t think it is wise to put all age rental apartments near senior developments. We need to keep a lot of green space in each community. We need parks in each community with nice shade trees and benches. There is room to build, but be wise about it. Don’t just look at tax dollars. There does not seem to be a lot of places to shop, but even those stores are not busy. We don’t need more empty stores just to sell the land,” says Linda Slack, Ocala resident.
“In response to a letter from Mr. Hayes: I have been raised in Ocala, and I completely disagree with your assessment of our city. It seems to me like you need to move elsewhere if we are not up to your standards. Perhaps Tampa or Orlando will better suit you. I have lived in four other states, and I’m happy to be living in this city and state. Our city has tripled in population and there are tons of highway improvements going on. At the risk of sounding rude (and I don’t want to), why are you here? I would never move to a place and proceed to bash the city with complaints. If I were being truthful, I would tell you what us natives of Ocala think about the intrusion of all the ungrateful transplants in our community. Our hospitals, in my opinion, are also fine, speaking of the life-saving care my brother, husband, and I have received. I don’t like what all of this building is doing to our wildlife either. We live in a very big and busy community and are seeing bears trying to find food because we invaded their habitat. I have been in my home here for 12-plus years and never saw bears trying to find food. We are making room for people who do not appreciate our city or our citizens,” says Ocala resident Karin Colbert.
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