A week ago, the County Commission accepted the State Department of Economic Opportunity's plan to put $5.5 million towards the development of the 'Cross Florida Commerce Park' on CR-484, just west of I-75.
Primarily, the funds will be allocated to the widening of CR-484, a new road into the property, and the extension of utility lines. Even better, Marion County's five-year capital improvement plan includes $6 million in matching funds that will also be used for the cause.
According to Commissioner Carl Zalak, "The governor and their team believe in Marion County. They need a foundation to build on, and governement's role is to help that get aligned." From the progress that's been made on the project, this seems to ring true.
There are high expectations for the project, even to the point where Commission Chairwoman Kathy Bryant thinks the commerce park will, "change the face of our community in a positive way." It's been compared to the impact the Ocala/Marion County Commerce Park that opened just north of U.S. 27 and just east of I-75. According to most people, the opening of that park is really what turned things around for Marion County.
The issue stems from the fact that workers in Marion Oaks must come into Ocala, or go south to Citrus County, or head further southeast to find work. After the park, they'll be able to find work right there in Marion Oaks.
With the backing from the state, local officials are confident they can attract top-tier tenants to the new park.
County leaders are very satisified with how this agreement came about. It took much coordination from multiple parties to pull off.