The home comes in all different shapes and sizes. It sets in many different places.
Sometimes it sets in the middle of a park.
At least, that’s the goal of Marion County Parks and Recreation Director Jim Couillard. “We will dedicate an area of the park,” Couillard said, “We’ll give them a yard and a place to park.”
And it’s all thanks to a single donation.
An anonymous donor gifted a mobile home to the Friends of Marion County Parks and Recreation Foundation Inc. They then gave the residence to the county to serve as a home for law enforcement. “Across our Park system we have what we call on site law enforcement presence,” Couillard said.
The program allows people from agencies like the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and even Florida Fish and Wildlife to live in the park.
“Having that law enforcement presence at a park is a great way to deter crime,” Couillard said.
Marion County will soon have six on-site residence programs spread across the counties’ parks. It goes all the way south in Belleview and up to Orange Lake. Parks and Recreation Community Engagement Coordinator Sara Lambert said the donation came as quite the shock.
“So donations like this are fantastic,” she said, “They allow the community to become more aware of the impact this organization is providing.” She said the local non-profit is important to volunteering and fundraising parks and rec projects.
The group has raised nearly $147,000 for Parks and Rec. The latest donation was evaluated at $52,500.
County officials are taking appraisals to move the home from its current location. The home will arrive in Belleview by the end of March.