Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Water Tower & Windmill at The Brownwoods front entrance
The Villages. For those of you new to this blog or to our now defunct The Villages blog, here are some things you need to know.
It is a 55+ community but to abide by the law, 80% of the homes in The Villages must have at least one person 19 years of age or older, living in it. Persons under 19 are not allowed to live in The Villages.
It all began with a guy named Harold Schwartz from Michigan who bought up a bunch of land in Central Florida. Through a series of legal machinations, he was able, some 30 years ago, to begin building the first community, known as Spanish Springs.
Schwartz's family still maintains control and owns all of The Villages. Living expenses are high for it takes a lot of money to keep the place going. Today it remains the fastest-growing community in the U.S. Not that that is a good thing. It has become a traffic nightmare.
The Villages now sprawls over 32,000 acres, and covers 25 miles. Each development area (Spanish Springs, Lake Sumter Landing and Brownwood) has it's own "downtown" with a square of sorts which offers entertainment and liquor every day of the year, weather permitting.
These "downtowns" also provide a number of shops and restaurants. Please note also that everything is designed to give it an old-timey feel; most of the buildings have some faux notice on them indicating they were built in the 19th century. None were.
Spanish Springs has more of a Spanish style to its architecture; Lake Sumter Landings is more like a small lake town; and Brownwood, was built to resemble a 19th century western settlement.
There are 39 golf courses in The Villages, but most of them (32) are of the Executive type - small, par-3 courses. It is so difficult to get a tee time in The Villages that many residents end up playing golf in Ocala or other nearby communities.
The population has doubled since 2010 and is now over 104,000. Most of the folks get around by golf car, and most streets in The Villages with the exception of state or country roads are golf car friendly.
The Villages is overwhelmingly conservative and Republican so any candidate who wishes to win an election makes sure of at least one stop in The Villages during his/her campaign.