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Ocala
Saturday, November 12, 2022

2022 Conservation Summit to discuss expanded transportation systems, growth in Marion County

A conservation summit is being held in Ocala early next week to discuss Marion County’s growth and the expansion of its transportation systems, along with the impact this could have on local horse farms and the equine industry.

The transportation systems in Marion County are being expanded to accommodate for population growth. An estimated 150,000 new residents are expected to call Marion County home over the next 20 years, which would raise the county’s population to approximately 500,000 people.

In 2021, Marion County residents ranked traffic and transportation as the number two issue in the countywide Quality of Life Survey, which was conducted by The Matrix Group and organized by Horse Farms Forever. The number one issue was preservation of natural resources and the protection of the Farmland Preservation Area.

On Monday, November 14, Horse Farms Forever will host the third annual Conversations About Conservation Summit, which will be take place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company located at 1701 SW 60th Avenue in Ocala.

The purpose of the summit is to facilitate a conversation about how to maintain a balance between growth and the conservation of what makes Marion County special, such as its open spaces and scenic locations.

During the summit, Keynote Speaker Jared Perdue, PE, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), will present an update on the improvements to Interstate 75, including the new I-75 interchange at NW 49th Street, as well as the proposed Northern Turnpike Extension project.

FDOT is currently working with Marion County on over 40 road improvement projects.

Tracy Straub, PE, Marion County Administrator, Public Works and Growth Services, will also present a summary of the top road improvement projects, including the area known as the Ocala Triangle, which includes State Road 200, SW 60th Avenue, and SW 80th Avenue.

The event is free and open to the public. No registration is required, and seating will be limited on a first-come, first-served basis.

A buffet lunch will be available for purchase from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, visit the 2022 Conservation Summit webpage.