Ocala News

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Post Date: 07/10/2020 2:43 PM

OCALA, Fla. (July 10, 2020) – In order to accommodate a road resurfacing project, lane closures will be in place along North Magnolia Avenue, from State Road 40 to NE Fifth Street Monday, July 20 through Saturday, October 17.

All necessary devices will be in place to redirect traffic. Construction will take place Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with Saturdays reserved for weather delays. During construction times travelers may experience delays, noise, dust, and heavy equipment within the project areas.

For more information, please contact the City Engineer’s Office, Capital Projects Division at 352-629-8419.


OCALA, Fla. (July 10, 2020) – Due to scheduled runway and taxiway construction work, the Ocala International Airport will be closed nightly, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., during the following:

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, July 16 through 7 a.m. Saturday, July 18
  • 8 p.m. Sunday July 19, through 7 a.m. Wednesday, July 22

Aircrews are advised to plan accordingly to accommodate these critical airport infrastructure improvements.  During these nightly closures, the airport will be closed to all fixed-winged aircraft.  Rotary wing (helicopter) operations will be permitted away from construction areas.  Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) will be published on the FAA NOTAM website to publicize the closure to aircrews.

For more information, please contact the Ocala International Airport at 352-572-0492 or visit www.ocalaairport.com.

Held on the outdoor stage July 23 to August 1!

Vocalists are Shannon Guinn, Deion Howard, James Taylor, and Megan Wager, with Philip King as music director and pianist.

Reservations available by phone or online only

Join us for a theatrical concert featuring some of OCT’s best-known performers!
This 90-minute concert with no intermission will be held on our brand-new outdoor stage behind the theatre. Seating is limited and safely distanced at small tables (up to groups of four) on the patio around the stage. There will be outdoor concessions.
Featuring old and new favorites from All Shook Up • Annie Get Your Gun • Big Fish • Cinderella
Dear Evan Hansen • Guys and Dolls • Into the Woods • Mean Girls • On the Town • Seussical
Songs for a New World • The Sound of Music • Sweet Charity • You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown • and more!
Physical tickets will not be printed. You will receive an email confirmation for you records when you complete your order. When you come to the performance please check-in at the outdoor stage area and we’ll have your name on our VIP list for that performance!
Performances held on our recently renovated our Outdoor Stage located behind the theatre! Please consider making a donation at check out.

Find out more…

OCALA, Fla. (July 9, 2020) – The City of Ocala’s Aquatic Fun Centers are extending their summer season. Both the Jervey Gantt Aquatic Fun Center, 2390 SW 36th Ave., and the Hampton Aquatic Fun Center, 255 NW Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., will remain open through August 8, Mondays through Saturdays, with two swim sessions, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. Facilities will remain closed Sundays to facilitate current cleaning and sanitation measures.

Beginning August 15 through September 5, both facilities will be open on Saturdays only, with two sessions, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

The final day of the season will be Monday, September 7 with two sessions, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. The Aquatic Fun Centers will close for the season Monday, September 7, 5 p.m.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, additional restrictions and guidelines are in effect for operations at both facilities:

  • Temperature and health screenings at entry
  • Plexiglass shields installed at customer service counters, as well as six-foot separation markers for entry
  • Reduced bathing loads to 75% normal capacity that are monitored and adjusted to ensure proper social distancing
  • No swim lessons
  • Waterslides are closed
  • Groups, camps, and field trips are prohibited
  • Reduced number of chairs available with distancing guidelines in place
  • Concessions are pre-packaged foods only

Admission for each swim session is $2 for ages 17 and under and $3 ages 18 and up. Admission is free for ages one and under. Facility operations are subject to change and staff continue to monitor conditions based on recommended guidelines. A detailed list of restrictions and guidelines for both aquatic centers can be found at www.ocalafl.org/aquatics.

For more information, please call the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department at 352-368-5517.

Cosby Hayes Begins Underpass Mural as Backdrop to Skatepark

The City of Ocala, through its Cultural Arts and Sciences Division, announces work on a new mural on the underpass behind the Ocala Skatepark. Tallahassee-based artist, Cosby Hayes will begin painting the new mural on June 8. The latest project commissioned by the Division will serve to enhance the Ocala Skatepark that the city opened in 2019.  The mural was approved by City Council in September 2019 as part of the 2020 fiscal year budget with the concept approved by the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission (OMAC).

The concept for the mural features a repeating pattern of multi-colored skateboard trucks. “The mural utilizes the full canvas and explores the relationship between the viewer and the subject matter. By painting the skateboard trucks much larger than life, an interesting visual contrast is created,” said Hayes. “In addition, the negative and positive space between the parts of the skateboard create a visually unique composition and, hopefully, a captivating backdrop for skateboarders and photographers alike. The colors invoke a feeling of inclusiveness and the celebration of our differences as people, and how the things that make us different are also the things that make our communities more vibrant and interesting places to live and visit.” Continue reading

City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department Announces Installation of Lights at Skate Park

OCALA, Fla. (June 10, 2020) – The City of Ocala has completed the installation of lights at the Ocala Skate Park, 517 NE Ninth St.

Effective immediately, the new hours of operation will be sunrise to 10 p.m., daily. The installation of lights will allow park-goers extended skate time hours and provide safer, well-lit conditions.

The Ocala Skate Park opened in May 2019 and is the first community skate park in Ocala.  The 10,000 square foot street course provides recreational space for skateboarders, in-line skating and freestyle bicycling.

For more information about the Ocala Skate Park, visit www.ocalafl.org/skatepark.

Date: June 18, 2020

Florida Department of Health in Marion County Community Health Nurse Gina Rohr speaks to a resident about the testing process before being swabbed for COVID-19 on June 16 at the department’s drive-through test site. The department tests individuals for COVID-19 both at its facility and at off-site locations. Staff tested close to 400 individuals today at Stonecrest, a local 55+ community.

So far, 19,488 COVID-19 tests have been given in Marion County. Of those, 19,149 were negative. Individuals who tested positive for the virus have ranged in age from 6 months to 97 years old. Eight Marion County residents have died after becoming ill with COVID-19. Marion’s overall positive test rate is 1.7%; Florida’s positive test rate is 5.6%. For more detailed information on all Marion cases, view Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/96dd742462124fa0b38ddedb9b25e429.

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or if you are experiencing symptoms of the virus (such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing), DOH-Marion recommends that you get tested for the virus. The department offers free COVID-19 testing; call 352-644-2590 to schedule an appointment at the health department. You do not need to be experiencing symptoms to be tested. Testing is also available at other local medical providers; call before visiting a facility if you would like to be tested for COVID-19. Continue reading

OCALA, Fla. (June 15, 2020) – The City of Ocala, through its Cultural Arts and Sciences Division, announces the installation of a new public art project throughout downtown.  Ocala based artist, Diana Cahal, the creator of the project, will begin installing on June 17.  The latest project commissioned by the Division will serve to bring awareness to ten local not-for-profit organizations that have been featured at the City’s Levitt Amp Ocala Music Series.  The project was funded in part by a grant from the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission (OMAC) through the State of the Arts license plate fees.

Originally inspired by Atlanta’s Tiny Door Project, “Small Spaces, Big Places” is an outdoor miniature art project focusing on Ocala’s vibrant arts scene and not-for-profit organizations.  The artworks are miniature versions of each of the organizations home-bases and they will be displayed in “secret gardens” throughout the downtown area.  The placement of the structures will be permanently anchored into the landscaping and will lead viewers on an interactive journey from location to location. The art projects will be on display for the next eight months.

Cahal said, “After my experience with Horse Fever (I painted two Horse Fever horses 2001 and 2011) and Take Me, I’m Yours! (an abandoned art project funded by a Pop-Up! Grant from the City of Ocala and Fine Arts for Ocala), I’ve seen first-hand how outdoor, interactive art projects invigorate our community and foster a sense of belonging and pride in our artful city.  These miniatures will enhance our arts climate and bring a unique focus to some of the wonderful art spaces we already have.” Continue reading

My second visit with friends for dinner at El Mezcal.

A very extensive menu to please everyone’s tastebuds. They have two outdoor seating areas, in front and rear of the restaurant, dog friendly. The interior has two sections and bar for those fabulous Margaritas and mixed drinks. This restaurant is exceptionally maintained, clean environment, beautifully decorated, excellent service, generous portions and flavorful food prepared by their chefs. I’ve lived in Texas and California, El Mezcal seems to capture a unique hybrid of the Mexican cuisine. A personal favorite is Fajitas, containing shrimp, scallops and chicken breast strips, a special marinate in a pineapple shell presentation. If you want a Five Star Experience at $-$$ prices this is the spot. It will become a destination for exceptional food, service and dining after your first experience!

Frank Turner


My wife and I visited the Oasis Cafe. It is a mom and pop friendly atmosphere. I had some great soup and a hamburger was excellent. It was moderately priced and well prepared. My wife as well said she enjoyed the meal.

I liked the meal some much went back for lunch the next week. Again I was not disappoint ted. Good food and they had some home chips that were interesting, you should go try them.


My review has to be about the Blue Gator. Tuesday night wings 50 cents anyway you want them. Of course there was a waiting line but the wings were worth every minute. I ate the Garlic parmigaun. I can only eat eight or nine w/ranch dressing and I’m done.

Take precautions the COVID-19 is spiking in Marion County.

Photo provided by Department of Health in Marion County: Florida Department of Health in Marion County Community Health Nurse Gina Rohr speaks to a resident about the testing process before being swabbed for COVID-19 on June 16 at the department’s drive-through test site. The department tests individuals for COVID-19 both at its facility and at off-site locations. Staff tested close to 400 individuals today at Stonecrest, a local 55+ community.

OCALA, Fla.-The Department of Health in Marion County is reporting 331 cumulative cases of COVID-19 as of this afternoon. The most recent individuals confirmed to have the virus are:

  • 22-year-old male from Belleview
  • 22-year-old female from Ocala
  • 30-year-old male from Ocala
  • 33-year-old male from Ocala
  • 53-year-old male from Belleview
  • 60-year-old female from Ocala

Continue reading

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