Officials are voicing concerns about the quality of multi-modal paths south of State Road 44 in The Villages.
The new multi-modal paths in places like the Village of Chitty Chatty do not have ribbon curbing. Multi-modal paths north of State Road 44 have a roughly six-inch strip of concrete running along both sides of the path. Ribbon curbing protects the edges from wearing down and deteriorating.
“I have been down to the Chitty Chatty area and I have seen the paths. It’s going to be a problem. The edges are already starting to crumble,” said Villager Don Wiley, who represents Community Development District 10 on the Project Wide Advisory Committee.
He raised the issue at Monday’s meeting of PWAC, which oversees amenities and resident-funded joint infrastructure south of County Road 466.
The paths down in the Chitty Chatty and the Village of Bradford were hosting heavy traffic this past weekend, due to the opening of the new Chitty Chatty Bridge. Curious bicyclists and residents in golf carts from north of State Road 44 may have noticed the difference in the paths.
Wiley has been sounding the alarm about the paths for a couple of months. He is concerned that when the Developer turns over the newer sections of the paths and they are absorbed into The Villages, residents could pay the price for a substantial upgrade.
“Are we going to get stuck with the bill? Will we have to put down 20 miles of ribbon curbing?” Wiley asked.
District Manager Richard Baier, who lives south of State Road 44, noted that the evolution of The Villages has prompted changes in the newer areas of Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.
“If you look south of 44 there are a number of things that are being done differently,” Baier said.
He pointed to updated pond designs and fences as well as multi-modal paths that “meet state standards.” He noted the state standard does not include ribbon curbing.
PWAC member Steve Brown, who represents CDD 9, said he was worried that The Villages may be “leaning on state standards” rather than the solid experience with ribbon curbing in the established sections of The Villages. He indicated the ribbon curbing has helped protect the life and durability of the multi-modal paths in the existing sections of The Villages. He and others wondered why the successful track record of ribbon curbing is suddenly being abandoned by the Developer.
“Does the Developer pay for it now or do we pay for it later?” asked Don Brozick, who represents CDD 11 on PWAC. “My takeaway is the Developer isn’t going to do anything with ribbon curbing.”