So many new recreation opportunities unfolded last week in the Southern Oaks expansion area.

Villagers welcomed the opening of Willow Tree Recreation Area with the first dip in the new pool Friday morning at 2162 Fenney Way in the Village of McClure.

And this new lifestyle amenity serves as a harbinger of more to come.

The Villages Developer recently secured state permits for development of the Everglades Recreation Center and the Cattail Recreation Area at the Village of Marsh Bend, the community north of Warm Springs Avenue and west of Florida’s Turnpike; and River Bend Recreation Center in the Village of Linden, the community south of Warm Springs and west of the turnpike.

Recreation remains a big component in Southern Oaks as evident from other recent activity.

Construction recently started at both Marsh View Pitch & Putt golf course at Marsh Bend and Swallowtail Recreation Area in the Village of Monarch Grove, a developing community about a mile south of Warm Springs and east of County Road 501.

Also: The speed of this development activity comes as the Developer remains committed to providing The Villages active adult the lifestyle to a growing demand of retires from throughout the United States and beyond. Proof of that occurred at last week’s Wildwood City Commission meeting. The commissioners unanimously approved plats for 531 homes on about 197 acres in the Village of Linden. The villas platted are Units 33-36, Blake, Preston, Rhett and Taylor. Approved plats define streets, blocks, lots and clear the way for the Developer to secure building permits for new home construction.

Also: There’s more, too. The Developer received the first-round of development permits last week for 268 new homes on about 68 acres in units 25, 26, 27 and Marja Villas at the northern section of Marsh Bend.

Also: That’s not all. The Developer also received the first round of development permits for the Village De Luna, a community east of U.S. Highway 301 and south of the turnpike. Site development could begin soon for eventual construction of 214 homes on 52.5 acres in units 28 and 29 and the villas of Ava and Lee.

Also: All of this explains why Wildwood city staff is recommending the development of the ramps for The Villages connectivity bridge over State Road 44 at Meggison Road. This bridge would connect with a multimodal path that would lead to another connectivity bridge over the turnpike and into De Luna and then through a series of tunnels into the villages of Linden, Monarch Grove, McClure, DeSoto and Fenney.

Also: The Villages Grown controlled-agricultural, garden-to-plate project recently received state approval to develop a 30,464-square-foot processing plant. The Developer envisions an 85-acre farm with a controlled greenhouse operation capable of raising produce with the highest nutrient levels possible under strict air-and-well water filtration systems and without the need for pesticides. It will be capable of producing 1-acre yields equivalent to 10 acres of conventional agriculture. And the produce will contain some of the highest nutrient values possible, initially for wholesale to restaurants in The Villages, with eventual plans to roll out retail sales.

Also: The Wildwood City Commission increased the opportunity last week for more retirees to enjoy the active adult lifestyle. Commissioners voted unanimously to allow The Villages to add up to 2,000 additional homes to the Southern Oaks region. The Developer now may build up to 25,345 age-restricted homes, just like the rest of The Villages, on 13,637 acres in an area that extends south from the Meggison Road extension at State Road 44 and south from U.S. Highway 301 at Florida’s Turnpike, along both sides of the turnpike to the Lake-Sumter county line and farther south on the south side of the turnpike to a point north of Center Hill. An accompanying traffic analysis indicates the adjustment in possible homes would not create adverse traffic impacts. In fact, the traffic impact will be less than commercial-industrial plans that previous landowners once attempted before The Villages bought and rezoned the property for age-restricted housing. Development entitlements also permit up to 2.5 million square feet of commercial-retail space, 32,000 square feet of office-government space and additional recreational space in Southern Oaks.

David R. Corder is a senior writer with The Villages Daily Sun. He can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5241, or david.corder@thevillagesmedia.com.