The Amenity Authority Committee is looking at spending $19.5 million to tear down and rebuild The Villages’ original recreation center.
The Paradise Recreation Center, located on the Historic Side of The Villages, is more than 38 years old.
A big crowd showed up at the AAC’s budget meeting Wednesday morning at Savannah Center where the future of the Paradise Recreation Center was the marquee topic.
Renovating the recreation center would cost about $18.5 million. Demolishing and rebuilding the recreation center would cost about $19.5 million, according to a presentation by Bruce Brown of District Property Management.
“It makes sense to do a complete teardown and rebuild rather than try to renovate it, in my opinion,” Brown said.
Preliminary plans call for a new building, major site improvements, a resort style pool, fire pit and an expansion of the Mark Twain Library. Many in the crowd were openly relieved when it was announced that the library would remain as part of the recreation center.
The entire demolition and rebuild process would be an 18-month project and residents would be shut out of the facility for about a year. Activities would be shifted to other recreation centers
AAC member Donna Kempa noted that the nearly complete First Responders Recreation Center came in at a total cost of $7.8 million, including land acquisition. However, it was noted that the square footage is much greater at Paradise Recreation Center. In addition, prices have been on a steep uphill climb due to inflation and supply chain disruptions.
AAC member Ann Forrester said there will still be plenty of time to hear from residents about the project before anything is finalized.