The Ocala Farm Ministry's plan to build a community center for people in the horse industry in Central Florida recently got a major boost. On Aug. 21, the Board of County Commissioners for Marion County approved a special-use permit for the 7.7 acres of land west of Ocala where the ministry wants to locate the center. The Marion County Zoning Department previously had recommended the approval.
"It's a major step because previously we were turned down on another piece of property," said the ministry's chaplain, Bob Miller.
The proposed Robert Scanlon Community Center, whose name will recognize the late Florida pinhooker, will offer a variety of programs, including English as a second language classes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Bible studies, and after-school tutoring, according to Miller. There also probably will be a soccer field on the property.
"It will complement and supplement county agencies," he said.
The ministry is still raising money for the project.
"It's a work in progress, and contributions are greatly appreciated because this will be a major undertaking," Miller said. "But we have a lot of sources in the community, and I think we can do it for under a million bucks."
The Ocala Farm Ministry is affiliated with the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America.