The month of August ended with many important events signifying our community’s commitment to economic development and recovery. The City of Ocala and Marion County joined in a three-party agreement with Ocala 489, LLC to develop nearly 500 acres along I-75. This park, along with the development of the Ocala Business Park at Ocala International Airport, will strengthen our marketing efforts to brand Ocala/Marion County as the premier logistics destination in Florida.
In addition, the EDC and Chamber’s Board of Directors voted to merge the two organizations to create a new economic development agency slated for January 2012. To learn more about this bold undertaking, download the Frequently Asked Questions document that was presented to EDC investors at our 53rd annual meeting. The last EDC Annual Meeting and Luncheon attracted a “sold out” audience who witnessed the passing of the gavel from 2011 Chair, Steve Purves to 2012 Chair, Doug Cone, and gave Brian O’Connor, Lockheed Martin a much deserved standing ovation as he received the coveted Chairman’s Award for outstanding leadership, service and support to the EDC and this community.
Florida House Speaker Designate Will Weatherford was the guest speaker, and spoke passionately about the significance of education and workforce development in the role of effective economic development. Our community has the good fortune to have organizations like the College of Central Florida and Workforce Connection, who partnered with the EDC to submit training grants, assist companies with candidate search and screenings, and help our citizens find meaningful work. I am personally grateful for the leadership and professionalism of CF and Workforce Connection in the job creation process.
As our fiscal year comes to a close, we are encouraged by the level of prospect activity and the new job growth created by several of our local businesses. We celebrated infrastructure improvements such as the groundbreaking for SW 67th Avenue opening up the airport business park, the opening of 44th Avenue, linking more than 200 acres of prime commercial real estate to major highways, and the signing of the three-party agreement to create the Ocala/Marion County Commerce Park; groundbreakings and grand openings with Signature Brands, LLC, Rasmussen College and Cone Distributing, Inc. collectively adding 162 high-wage jobs; congratulated Senture and Path Labs as they opened their doors and began hiring for 135 new positions, and welcomed announcements from American Fresh Farms and HealthSouth slated to add 275 high-wage jobs in the coming months. The EDC assisted all these companies through the expansion or relocation process, but none would have come to fruition without the support of our partners at the state and local levels.
The EDC will continue to work diligently with our partners to attract and expand companies that create quality jobs for our community. We appreciate your support for these efforts and will keep you apprised of the latest progress.
|The journey toward creating available commerce parks in Marion County drew one step closer on August 30, 2011. The City and County have been in negotiations for some time with the developers of Ocala 489, LLC to provide infrastructure support to make the Ocala/Marion County Commerce Park a reality. Both City Council and the County Commission held public hearings on August 2nd and August 16th which culminated in a final vote of approval on the agreement that set the plan in motion. |
The property, located along I-75, is being touted as a premier logistics destination. Aside from the obvious highway benefit, it is less than three miles from the Ocala International Airport and has availability for rail access. In a recent session where the EDC convened state-wide decision makers who could steer projects in our community’s direction, CSX Railroad Manager Regional Development Aubrey Brown said, “There is no other location like this in the State of Florida. The fact that you have the City and County working together in this fragile economy speaks volumes about this community.”
To view a video of the signing, click here.
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|Pete Tesch and Doug Cone welcome guest speaker Representative Will Weatherford. Weatherford is slated to be the next Speaker of the House. ||Steve Purves presents the Chairman's Award to Brian O'Connor for his outstanding leadership, service and support to the EDC and the community. |
2010/2011 Chair Steve Purves passes the gavel to Chair-Elect Doug Cone.
Cone presented Purves with a gift of appreciation for his service as Chair.
2011 Outgoing Directors
2010/2011 EDC Board of Directors
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