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The Villages
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Villager’s concerns about El Santiago Family Pool lead to quick action – exactly the way it’s supposed to work

We’d like to offer praise to Villager Michele Grandusky and we hope that others in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown won’t hesitate to follow her lead going forward.

In case you missed it, Grandusky came to a Community Development District 2 Board of Supervisors meeting Aug. 10 to make her concerns known about the condition of the El Santiago Family Pool. Grandusky stood before the board and said she felt she and her neighbors were getting the “short end of the stick.”

Grandusky said the pool was dirty and there was debris piled up nearby –two things that she found alarming because the facility is a family pool.

“People take their grandchildren there,” she said.

Grandusky also told supervisors there was grout built up between the tiles in the pool and “scum” on the walls. She said a cover has been missing over a light fixture for nearly a year. And she expressed concerns over the debris pile in the parking lot attracting rats.

Grout in between the tiles at the El Santiago pool.

“It’s disgusting,” the New Jersey native said, adding that she’s been to other pools in the community that appear to be much cleaner.

Before we go further, there’s a couple of things you need to know, because at the end of the day, this is a story of local government doing what it’s supposed to do – taking care of the needs of those it serves.

First, CDD 2 board members actually have no say over the pool because it’s an amenity. And they were kind enough to steer Grandusky to the correct board, the Amenity Authority Committee.

A light cover has been missing at the El Santiago pool.

But more importantly, at least one government official – we’re pretty sure we know who, but more on that in a minute – heard Grandusky’s concerns loud and clearly and obviously checked them out. Because on Tuesday – just four days after Grandusky spoke out – the District Office announced a series of closures at the El Santiago Pool to take care of problems.

This past Thursday, the pool was closed for grout work and it reopened Friday. It will close again Friday, Aug. 24 and Saturday, Aug. 25 for paver work. And the facility’s Lower Building will close at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 and will not reopen until Sunday, Aug. 26.

When contacted this past Tuesday evening by Villages-News.com, let’s just say that Grandusky was quite pleased. She joked that when she returned to the pool after the CDD 2 board meeting, residents “bowed down” to her for taking a stand.

If you’re wondering who heard Grandusky’s complaints – even though she wasn’t in front of the correct board – and took quick action, our money lies with District Manager Richard Baier and his staff. Since taking over the reins of the District Government in July, Baier has made positive changes and proven to be quite responsive to the needs of those he serves. He clearly understands the role he and his employees play in the life of Villagers, and we have no doubt that he’s the one who made sure the issues at the El Santiago Pool moved to the top of the priority list.

A pile of debris at the El Santiago Family Pool.

So, as we said earlier, we applaud Grandusky for going to the CDD 2 board and speaking out. Standing before government officials and sharing one’s thoughts can be intimidating. But we’re thrilled she felt passionate enough about the issues to take a stand.

And we’d like to offer a word of thanks to Baier and company for taking care of these issues. It’s nice to have someone leading our local government who views all questions and concerns from residents as important and then makes it a point to respond quickly. We find that approach refreshing and we’re confident that it will continue as Baier puts his mark on the entity that’s charged with taking care of important needs of those have worked so hard to call The Villages home.

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