Located in Marion County, the "Horse Capital of the World," Ocala, Florida, has a population of just over 50,000. Full of parks, forests, and natural springs, Ocala prides itself on its beautiful environment. The city was named an All-American City by the National Civic League in 1995. Also in 1995 Money magazine named the Ocala area the fifth-most desirable place to live in the United States, and in 2008 it won a prestigious "5 Bloom" rating for excellence in the international Communities in Bloom competition.
Ocala has a diverse economy. Nearly 30,000 workers are employed in the thoroughbred horse industry, a business that brings in nearly $1 billion annually. Manufacturing is also a large source of employment in the area, with products manufactured in the city ranging from fire rescue equipment to electronics and high-tech communications equipment. Another 21,000 Ocala workers are employed in service professions.
The government remains the top employer in Ocala. The top employers in the government are Marion County Public Schools, State of Florida, US Government, Marion County Board of County Commissioners, and City of Ocala. The major private sector employers are Munroe Regional Medical Center, Wal-Mart, Publix Supermarkets, Ocala Regional Medical Center & West Marion Community Hospital, and Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corporation. The major manufacturing and distribution employers are Emergency One Inc., Lockheed Martin, ClosetMaid, Cheney Brothers Inc. and Kmart Corporation. Ocala is also the headquarters of Emergency One, a worldwide designer and manufacturer of fire rescue vehicles.
Ocala's unemployment rate is a little over 4 percent.
The city is served by the Ocala International Airport. Ocala Suntan offers bus transportation. It is also home to Central Florida Community College and Webster College.
The city has a population of over 50,000 people. There are about 21,000 houses and over 40 percent of the houses are occupied by renters.
The walkability of the city is excellent as most of the amenities are located within a mile's distance from the center of the city.
Ocala's residential neighborhoods include Marion Oaks, Silver Springs Shores, and West Ocala.
Marion County is home to the greatest number of horses and ponies anywhere in the United States. It is an important national center of Thoroughbred breeding and training. The Ocala area hosts numerous equine competitions from riding to jumping and racing. The area has attracted numerous horse enthusiasts and is home to the Olympians David and Karen O'Connor, who have training facilities in the county. Ocala is also home to the cowboy Dan Daly, who has won multiple International Pro-Rodeo Association cowboy championships.
Ocala is served by the Ocala Star Banner, a daily newspaper with a circulation of roughly 45,000.
Radio stations broadcasting from Ocala include:
The city's television stations include:
Institutions of higher education in Ocala include Central Florida Community College, which has an enrollment of approximately 7,000 students, and Rasmussen College (formerly Webster College). The University of Florida in Gainesville is just a 40-minute drive away.
The Ocala area is home to the Belleview Bulldogs, of the Florida Collegiate Summer League.
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