Continued demand for The Villages lifestyle produced striking new insight about the people who live here.

Total personal income increased 5.1 percent to $5.44 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017, in The Villages metropolitan statistical area, according to the data the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis released Thursday morning.

Per capita personal income increased 2.5 percent to an average $43,464.

That translates into the possibility of more disposable income per capita, a key indicator for businesses that may be considering an expansion into a growth market like The Villages.

While the one-year data is revealing, a five-year analysis of personal income data offered even more insight about the residents coming to the community to enjoy the lifestyle.

Over the past five years, total personal income increased 36 percent. However, per capita income increased almost 17 percent over the same time period.

That means The Villages is gaining on Florida’s per capita income, which increased by about 18 percent over that five-year period to $47,684.

Also: One important element of The Villages lifestyle is the retailers, restaurants and service providers that daily fulfill Villager needs, wants and desires. That requires employees to meet resident demand. Keenly aware of the need for employee housing, the Sumter County Commission unanimously approved development entitlements and rezoning for a market-rate apartment community at the northwest corner of County Road 466 and CR 100 at Tuesday’s regular meeting, Sumter Administrator Bradley Arnold said. This is the second market-rate apartment project the commission authorized since approving a resolution that permits high-density residential zoning in the county, he said. Neither of these developments outside The Villages will be age-restricted. “The way the board voted (on Tuesday’s application) they did not include specific conditions in the rezoning. Now, the developer may decide to do some. The motion was to leave it to staff, and that’s something that we don’t think we can limit the number of children in a market-rate community. So, we don’t intend to do that because of that.”

Also: The commission approved an amendment to the regional roadway agreement it maintains with The Villages for road development south of State Road 44 in the Southern Oaks region. Commissioners unanimously agreed to reduce the number of lanes on Corbin Trail to two lanes from four lanes. Corbin Trail connects east of Fenney Way at the Village of McClure, intersects with a roundabout at CR 501 and then continues south through the villages of Linden and Monarch Grove to a planned connectivity bridge that crosses Florida’s Turnpike. “By reducing it to two lanes, it’s a savings for the county on the cost of construction, but the Developer gained additional property for development, which is revenue favorable for both the city of Wildwood and Sumter County,” Arnold said. “And the consultant did the review and demonstrated that there is no adverse traffic impact with that change.”

Also: The CR 501 widening project is wrapping up sooner than expected at Warm Springs Avenue. North and south barriers on CR 501 should be removed Dec. 7, Arnold said. The traffic signal at the intersection will be on yellow-flash mode through Dec. 21, and then changed to regular operation.  Once CR 501 opens, residents should be able to access Corbin Trail west into the villages of McClure, DeSoto and Fenney and eventually into Linden and Monarch Grove. The reopening also permits motorist access to CR 470 and then east to Florida’s Turnpike.

Also: With the CR 501 reopening, Arnold advised motorists to use caution in Southern Oaks. “Construction is continuing on Warm Springs from U.S. Highway 301 to Morse Boulevard and State Road 44,” he said. “There’s significant construction on Warm Springs and Morse.” Construction will require a temporary reduction to two lanes from four lanes when construction starts in this area, according to planning records. There is no time frame, yet. However, construction plans contain the site of the planned Meggison Road and Warm Springs intersection just east of the turnpike. It will be a signalized intersection, Arnold said. “We have signage up right now where you’ll see the transition point from Morse to Warm Springs. That’s where the roundabout is going to be located.”

 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.