Improving livable communities is goal of area agencies

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Posted November 27, 2020 | Ocala Gazette Staff | Community images courtesy of On Top of the World

Residents of all ages encouraged to take The Age Friendly Survey of Marion County

Marion County residents who want to help make the area’s communities more livable and age friendly are encouraged to spend a few minutes taking a new survey developed by Marion Senior Services (MSS) and AARP.

MSS recently led the way in getting Marion County and the City of Ocala designated as livable communities, the first locale statewide to receive both city and county designation. The Age Friendly Survey of Marion County will provide results that MSS, AARP and local and state leadership will use to determine the best path towards maintaining and building on the AARP Livable Communities standards, according to the MSS news release.

Per the AARP, a livable community is one that provides safe, walkable streets; age-friendly housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life. The adoption of policies and programs that enable well-designed, age friendly communities helps foster economic growth and makes for happier, healthier residents of all ages.

“An initiative such as making our communities be the best they can be for our residents to live in and our visitors to enjoy necessitates widespread support,” said MSS Executive Director Jennifer Martinez, in the release. “I’m hoping I can count on thousands in our community to help us in this crucial work by participating in the simple, yet vital, step of taking and sharing this survey. It truly benefits each and every one of us that call Marion County home.”

Marion County is among the oldest-skewing counties in Florida, with approximately a third of the county’s population age 60 and older, and Florida is the oldest-skewing state in the nation. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the Ocala metropolitan area as No. 6 among the country’s 150-largest metropolitan areas on its 2020-21 list of best places to retire.

“Achieving the benchmarks of a livable community is an ideal scenario that cannot happen alone, nor with just a handful of committed community organizations,” said Marion County Sheriff and MSS Board Chair Billy Woods in the release. “It requires a lot of helping hands, and this is where the citizens of Marion County play a vital part. The more people who take the survey, the better the results are for our communities. Let’s all help each other out so we can continue making Marion County a wonderful place to live, work and play.”

The survey is applicable to all ages. It can be found at (case-sensitive).

To learn more, call 352-620-3501 or visit

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