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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Readers from Ocala discuss city’s air travel needs

Five readers from Ocala submitted letters to Ocala-News.com to weigh in on the topic of bringing commercial flights to the city’s airport.

“I strongly disagree with the comments that are made about Ocala not having enough people to support the airlines if they do come in to Ocala. We have enough people to support the airlines here with places like Belleview, Marion Oaks, Dunnellon, and, of course, the beautiful city of Ocala, which is growing year after year. We don’t need to be driving to Orlando or Tampa or even Gainesville, you get the picture. Yet Ocala and the tri-county area are the ones that support those airports, so without Ocala and its surrounding cities, Orlando and Tampa can’t exist,” says Ocala resident Noel Tulley.

“I do not know when the airlines evaluated the population and the amount of money here in Ocala. It seems like since I have been here, since 2017, this town has done nothing but flourish. Multi-million dollar homes are being sold due to the World Equestrian Center here in horse country, and I live 3 miles north of it myself. They might want to reevaluate the money situation here in Ocala and the need for airline service, which keeps people having to drive to Tampa International or Orlando through that traffic jam on the turnpike. Thank you for your time and reading this,” says Gary Marino, Ocala resident.

“I recently asked a Marion County representative about commercial flights out of Ocala, and this was her comment to me: It’s not up to the county – the airline must request to come here. So folks, write to Avelo, Allegiant, Southwest, etc., and request service,” says Ocala resident Leona Roach.

“When my husband and I married here in ’83, this was a very quiet town. When we retired and moved here in ’95, things had picked up but were still reasonable. From the beginning, I thought the Ocala International Airport was reaching and just a play on words as Marion County was small and down to earth. I never thought anyone would take it at face value and actually want to ruin our county for the expectations of newcomers from other states. If we had wanted to live in a plane lane, we would have moved to Gainesville, Orlando, or Tampa. We did not. Ocala residents like being able to live quietly but be able to be at any type of entertainment within no more than two hours. If you want to see what we would be turning into, just look at Houston, Texas and their nightmare of having an airport at their backdoor. If you want to live the jet set life, move elsewhere and leave the rest of us to enjoy peace and quiet and horses running in the fields around us,” says Donya Singletary, Ocala resident.

“The biggest problem with air travel is this: to get to the airport to make your flight is the hardest part. For all those who don’t want Ocala International Airport to expand, how about proposing a better and more efficient way to get to Orlando or Tampa or Jacksonville? I lived in southern California for decades. I saw the ability to move people, which is one of the most important parts of living there. Amtrak commuter trains, shuttles to the airports running 24 hours, buses from LAX to Union Station, and so much more. And before the cry goes up, no this is not SoCal. But those solutions might just help the transportation problems here. I love living here, and yes, we have grown. So, instead of being a NIMBY, how about finding a viable solution?” says Ocala resident Annemarie Mansfield.