Local Folks: Linzee Ott

Local Folks: Linzee Ott
Linzee Ott, photo by Angelica Pompy

Community Engagement Coordinator at Office of the State Attorney, 4th Judicial Circuit. That’s the somewhat mysterious title held by San Marco’s very own Linzee Ott. She is often asked, “What the heck does that mean?” It’s a position that was custom made for her. She calls it “a God thing” the way the story unfolded.

When Melissa Nelson was elected state attorney in 2017, she recognized the importance of establishing trust between her office and local citizens. She envisioned forming relationships with a variety of sectors already in place, and she looked to create a non-traditional position to fill with someone who could help the state attorney’s office better serve the people who would come through the criminal justice system — making referrals, for example, to fill needs they might have for housing, transportation, education and the like. Melissa Nelson met Ott, who had a background in legislative policy in Tallahassee and D.C., and knew she’d be the ideal person to fill such a position. Nelson was right. “It’s been really great. I love people, and I love the community,” Ott said.

When not working at the prosecutor’s office for her livelihood, Ott is heavily involved with the San Marco Preservation Society, and has been for the past six years. In 2019-2020, she was the youngest person in the organization’s history to hold the role of board president, only 27 at that time.

“As a result of my volunteerism with the San Marco Preservation Society, I discovered a love for and an interest in urban planning and design,” Linzee said. She sought independent education in those topics and, as a result, was appointed to the Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) in April 2022. She participates in projects that come to DDRB for review of design standards. “I’ve really been enjoying that,” she said.

Linzeee’s community service work has also included a stint on the board of Theatre Jacksonville, the longest continuously running community theatre in the state of Florida. “They’re a really fantastic local organization!” Linzee said.

“It’s such a wonderful city,” Linzee said of Jacksonville. “It’s not the same city it was 20 years ago when I was growing up. There’s a lot going on here, and I’m happy to contribute to it.”

Linzee does have a soft spot for the San Marco section. She appreciates how well designed it is, made with the pedestrian experience in mind. The commercial square, the sidewalks, the tree canopy, signage, and on her list goes. “All of these things make a place enjoyable and comfortable,” Linzee pointed out. She felt she liked it here before. Since taking those urban planning and design classes, now she knows the reasons why.

Another endearing aspect of San Marco for Linzee has been the San Marco Theatre. For her 30th birthday last year, she was surprised to see her name on its marquee, a gift arranged by her best friend and her mother. “It was very special to me that they did this,” Linzee said, as she had been attending movies there for her entire life. “I’m very sad,” she said about the recent closing, and will continue to hold fond memories.

With the small slice of time that Linzee has left after her work and volunteer hours, she enjoys eating. “I’m a foodie,” she admitted. “I love eating at new Jacksonville restaurants that I haven’t tried before.” And she loves that in San Marco she can walk to many of them. “I’m spoiled because my activities are all within a seven-minute radius, and I have access to really great stuff near me,” she tells people.

Linzee enjoys being on the water, too. “I’m a big kayaker,” she said. She also paddleboards. Linzee’s desire is to see most of Florida’s springs someday. It’s not quite a bucket list because there are so many springs throughout the state to visit, more than 700 in fact. “That’s an ambitious goal. But I do want to see a lot of them,” she said. She’s already been to about a dozen, and Silver Springs stood out to her as “absolutely beautiful” and “stunning!” There she saw alligators, turtles, monkeys, manatees, and more that she had not expected.

Linzee admits to being one of those people who swore she would never live in the same town where she grew up, not even in the same state. And yet, this is where she resides and works and volunteers and recreates. She said, “I always thought I wanted to live internationally, but I have ended up right back where I started, and I love it!”

By Mary Wanser
Resident Community News

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