The Villages continues to unveil impressive recreational facilities. The year 2019 witnessed the opening of nine amenities. Thousands of residents, for instance, visited Everglades Recreation Complex when it opened Nov. 8. But Everglades is just a bellwether of what’s to come as The Villages continues with its mission to provide residents with recreational amenities designed to enhance health and social wellness. The proof is in the following amenities that opened during 2019:
Marsh View Pitch & Putt filled a gap in The Villages’ portfolio of golf offerings — shorter than an executive course but perfect for anyone looking to get in a speedy nine or work on their short game. No hole stretches longer than 110 yards on the walking-only course, so golfers need only bring along a handful of wedges — perhaps a short iron — and a putter.
Cattail Recreation Area became a must-see addition to the Village of Marsh Bend. It’s a popular neighborhood recreation amenity with a resort-style family pool and bocce, shuffleboard and pickleball courts. Cattail also features the trailhead to the Hogeye Preserve Pathway.
The Hogeye Preserve Pathway elicited the wow factor when it opened at Cattail Recreation Area. This 2.5-mile walking path surrounds the natural Florida water basin at the Village of Marsh Bend, which connects to the Fenney Spring water flow from the Village of Fenney. The pathway also offers enhanced opportunities to observe Florida wildlife and vegetation.
Residents reacted with awe when The Villages opened on this day three recreation amenities —
Riverbend Recreation Center and Rupert Canine Park, both at the Village of Linden, and Swallowtail Recreation Area, at the Village of Monarch Grove. Riverbend features meeting spaces, a walk-in family pool, fire pit, sand courts for sand volleyball and beach tennis. Rupert and Swallowtail offer the same quality that Villagers enjoy at all neighborhood amenities.
The Villages Public Safety Department Station 47 and District Customer Service Center, 4856 Morse Blvd., opened to provide convenient services to residents who live south of State Road 44. Safety and service remain a hallmark of the Villages Community Development Districts through this multifaceted service center. It provides fire and emergency services with rapid response to Villagers needs north and south of State Road 44. The customer service center provides residents with convenient access without the need to travel to the headquarters at Lake Sumter Landing.
Ednas’ on the Green beverage pavilion and two food trucks — Ednas’ Provisions & Vittles and Rita’s Cocina Mexicana — served residents for the first time at Cattail Recreation Area at the Village of Marsh Bend. These service providers quickly earned not only a loyal neighborhood following but also attracted residents from all points in The Villages. They offer convenient services for residents who enjoy the amenities at Everglades, Cattail, Marsh View or Lowlands.
Brownwood Bridge attracted considerable resident interest when contractors placed it across State Road 44 just east of the Meggison Road entrance to Brownwood Paddock Square. When completed, this golf cart bridge will permit residents to travel from the Brownwood area to a second golf cart bridge that will span Florida’s Turnpike and connect with the Village De Luna. It’s a focal point for connecting The Villages north and south of the highway.
The Villages Grown farm-to-table project opened its first retail store at Brownwood. It was the first public offering of the controlled agricultural project The Villages is building at the southwest corner of Morse Boulevard and State Road 44. The Developer conceived this project from Villager demand for fresh, quality produce grown locally. The farm is rolling out produce with high nutrient values and partnering with Central Florida farmers to provide a mix of high-quality food products.
Lowlands Golf Course opened adjacent to Cattail Recreation Area, the first executive course to be attached to a larger recreation hub. One of The Villages’ few executive courses with two par-4s on the card, Lowlands also features elevation changes unique to the area. It is the fifth executive course to open in the growing expansion south of Florida’s Turnpike.
Everglades Recreation Complex became a new standard for amenities when it opened at the Village of Marsh Bend. At 50 acres, The Villages’ largest recreational facility features a variety of amenities, including a sports pool, softball complex, multipurpose athletic field, facilities for remote-control boats and cars, and pickleball, platform tennis bocce and shuffleboard courts. Everglades Recreation Center was designed as a historic hunting lodge. It’s also a tribute to America’s national parks, replete with photos depicting some of the country’s most scenic vistas.
COMING IN 2020
So many more amenities are planned to open next year in the area south of State Road 44. Construction is underway at Water Lily, Chitty Chatty and Bradford recreation areas. Other planned amenities include the Aviary, Hawkins and St. Catherine recreation areas. To the north of SR 44 off Buena Vista Boulevard, The Villages in partnership with the Villages Woodworkers Club and the Village Community Development Districts are building a second woodshop across from Eisenhower Recreation Center.
Construction also is underway at Magnolia Plaza, a neighborhood retail center at the northwest corner of Marsh Bend Trail and Warm Springs Avenue at the Village of Marsh Bend. Tenants that have secured space there include Citizens First Bank and The Villages Golf Cars, with an anchor grocery store that will be announced soon.
The vision of linking residents to amenities from one end of The Villages to the other is swiftly becoming a reality. The Villages set the first of four major golf cart bridges to connect Villagers from the far north edge of the community to the farthest reaches to the south. Construction continues on the Water Lily Bridge that will span Florida’s Turnpike at the Village De Luna, and the Chitty Chatty Bridge that will span SR 44 on the east side of Rohan Recreation Center. Plans are in the works to build the fourth bridge across the turnpike south of the Village of Monarch Grove.