In response to recent letters, several readers wrote in to share their thoughts and concerns regarding the growth in Ocala.
“Those who complain about the growth here in Ocala and in the rest of the state need to realize some things. First, those who suggest moving to a smaller town miss the point. The growth is statewide, and it’s largely unrestricted because the state regulators and politicians are in the pocket of the developers. The developers just want to build and sell to profit, without concern for schools, roads (unless for profit, like the Turnpike extension), buses, rail, water, sewage, and the environment. This is a disaster waiting to happen. I lived in Broward for 20 years before moving here, and I see what happened there is now happening here. Politicians and regulators need to empty their pockets of developers money and say ‘no’ to building without necessary and ecologically sound infrastructure first,” says David Kruchkow, Ocala resident.
“My family has been in Ocala since June of 1946 and we don’t want to move. We just want Ocala to stop growing. If you want a big town, move to one and let Ocala go back to being a wonderful town to raise a family in, away from crowds and traffic,” says Ocala resident Kay Voge.
“Yes, there are smaller, less crowded, beautiful towns as Ocala was before schmucks moved to Ocala and decided to change our bucolic, friendly, peaceful haven into the city they left behind. Might I suggest, if you’re looking for streets lined with crowded stores, noise, traffic, more fast food restaurants, and gas stations, and especially the garbage and trash that now litters our streets, then you can move to a big city like Chicago, Detroit, or New York City, where I was born and raised and fled from several years ago to escape to the beauty and tranquility of Ocala, only to now encounter people who would hope to change Ocala into another Orlando. Perhaps they would be happier in The Villages,” says Carol Shalaew, Ocala resident.
“I have to disagree with a previous letter about moving to a smaller town. The people that built the small towns of Florida – St. Augustine, Ocala, Fort Pierce, etc. – spent a lot of time and community effort to make them nice places to live. They were small towns, but they’re not anymore. My family has been living in Florida since the 1760s and believe me, nobody wanted to come here then because of the mosquitoes and the heat and the snakes and the alligators and the Indians. But my ancestors made it a beautiful, just, and gracious place to live. Now all these people want to move in here and more or less soak up the fat of the land and rest on the achievements and hard work of our ancestors. Granted, there are a lot of local greedy land owners who do not respect the land and just want to sell it off in tiny pieces as quickly as possible. And shame on those people. However, most of the people who are moving here have fouled their own cities over the generations and now want to take advantage of the beautiful cities, towns, and lands that we have developed. Why don’t they just stay where they are and make their places better instead of coming here and telling us we don’t know what we’re doing? Measured growth can bring increased economic activity, however this unchecked and unplanned growth only leads to loss of quality of life, community culture, safety, and the way of life that is desirable. It is already out of control in large swaths of the county. It is an essential and an emergency situation that the county commissioners and planners must address,” says Ocala resident Suzette King.