City of Ocala proposes expanding downtown golf cart map

Officials held two public meetings Thursday, where they proposed to expand the current downtown golf cart map.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:31 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - City officials in Ocala hope to expand how far golf cart drivers can go.

Officials held two public meetings Thursday, where they proposed to expand the current downtown golf cart map. Residents were encouraged to give their feedback.

Right now, golf cart owners cannot drive past City Hall, but the proposed plans would include the Downtown Square district.

“The direct benefit would be in the expansion area to include the Downtown Square because individuals that drive with golf carts are coming with the intent of being downtown for a longer period of time,” said City of Ocala Community Outreach Manager Rachel Fautsch.

Business owners on the square are in favor of letting golf carts drive around the area.

“I like the idea of the downtown being a more walkable area and I think that the golf carts would be a great addition to that,” said Jennifer Arvanitis, owner of Marley Mae Market & Paperie.

However, businesses are aware of problems with parking.

“I do think there needs to be specific parking so that it doesn’t interfere with the customers who come and expect to find a parking place,” said Shannon Roth, owner of Shannon Roth Collection.

City leaders encouraged residents to come out and learn about the proposal, but not everyone is in favor of it.

Resident Mark Debolt believed safety is a top concern.

“I have a lot of concerns about them expanding it downtown,” said Debolt. “I think somebody’s gonna get hurt or killed because of just the nature of the traffic downtown, the congestion.”

Resident Eddie Lewis is in favor of the expansion. He would like to drive to the downtown district in his golf cart.

“I don’t think golf cart safety is as big an issue as some people are bringing it to be because if people followed the laws, I don’t think we’ll have safety issues,” said Lewis.

The expansion was shut down by the city council last November. Officials hope a smaller map will appeal to more people.

They will discuss the proposed changes in a meeting on April 18th.

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