Construction continues here in the south area with the Villages of Newell and Lake Denham continuing to grow with new residents! Both these villages are in a new Community Development District (CDD 14). The Southern Oaks Bridge is now open to vehicular traffic. The bridge is the first Villages bridge that will provide for both automobile and golf cart traffic across the Florida Turnpike.

One of the concerns we’ve heard from residents is the use of facilities by unauthorized members. This is a concern for several reasons. In addition to limited opportunities for authorized users, this will increase the maintenance cost of facilities due to the faster need for refurbishment. As an example, many executive golf courses saw increased usage during COVID. The significant increase in usage contributed to the reduced time between executive golf course refurbishment which has resulted in the need to refurbish our executive golf courses after a shorter period than expected thus increasing our amenity fee expenditures for golf course refurbishment.

At the last PWAC meeting I attended, over $1 million dollars of our amenity fees was allocated to refurbish sports courts. The use of these facilities by people who do not pay the amenity fee is not fair to those of us who do pay the fee and is rightly a cause of concern. In some villages, residents have complained of unauthorized users at their community pools.

There are clear policies established by both the Recreation Department and the Community Watch Department to address this concern. The Recreation Department has standards for checking IDs for inside and outside groups. For outside open/organized play there is a minimum of 3 checks made daily. The checks are to be made randomly. Additionally, the department conducts roving ID checks periodically throughout the day.

The Community Watch department conducts daily checks of pools 3 times per day looking for items that need repair and checking ID’s. They also check dog parks a minimum of three times daily.

Both departments do their best to ensure those who use our facilities are authorized to do so. If you’re asked for your Village ID, please be responsive and courteous. It’s sad to report that some residents are sometimes verbally abusive of those who are doing their job and trying to ensure only authorized users are at our facilities. Our neighbors who work for these departments are doing their best to ensure you enjoy your recreational experience while validating that everyone who is with you is authorized to be there. If you’re aware of unauthorized users, please contact someone at the Recreation Center if it’s at a recreation facility or Community Watch if it’s a pool or dog park.