During the Marion County Board of County Commissioners meeting that was held on Tuesday, the commissioners approved a 137-acre land donation that will exclusively benefit Marion County Animal Services.
The late Larry Roberts and his family decided to make the donation after learning that the operations of Animal Services have outgrown the capacity at the current facility located near the Baseline Road Landfill, according to Marion County Public Relations.
On behalf of the Roberts family, Golden Ocala Equestrian Land, LLC acquired a 137-acre tract of land in Citra and then offered to donate it to Marion County, in perpetuity, for the sole use of Animal Services.
“The Roberts family have been strong supporters of Animal Services for decades,” stated Interim Animal Services Director Stephanie Kash. “This donation will certainly enhance rehabilitation efforts for horses and other livestock in our care.”
The donated property, which includes two adjacent tracts totaling 137 acres, has several improvements such as residential and barn-type structures. The site is located to the north of U.S. Highway 316 and south of NW 155th Street to the south, between U.S. Highway 441 to the west and U.S. Highway 301 to the east.
According to Marion County, the real property donation agreement provides a due diligence period for the county to determine the suitability of the site. The agreement also provides for a right of reverter, which means that the land would return to Golden Ocala Equestrian Land in the event that Animal Services ceases to operate on the property for any reason.
Marion County must obtain a special use permit for the operations of Animal Services on this site, and the agreement is contingent upon the county obtaining this permit. If the permit is obtained, Golden Ocala Equestrian Land will grant Marion County a “zero lease” to the property that will allow Animal Services to place livestock on the property pending the outcome of the special use permit process.
For more information, visit the Marion County Animal Services website.