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The Villages
Monday, May 23, 2022

Residents should have a voice in the future of Spanish Springs

Jiim Cipollone
Jim Cipollone

The last two years or so have been contentious from surrounding towns, The Village residents and the businesses located in and around Spanish Springs Town Square toward the Developer.

Loss of  jobs are just an example of the surrounding towns’ loss of revenue from diminishing  job opportunities resulting from curtailing hospitality facilities located in Spanish Springs.

The Village residents and visitors that take pictures in front of the building, have no place similar to Katie Belle’s to meet for entertainment and hospitality that was the benchmark that attracted many potential residents to settle in The Villages.

Village Management recently publicly voiced through the Daily Sun their innocence from any association with the Disney Corporation. Because the governor determined that the Disney Corporation, the part located in Florida, will also have to abide by the laws of Florida. No reflection on Disney business operations, just follow the rules. Why would The Villages management even bring up for discussion anything to do with the governor or Disney if there is no association with either?

Word is The Villages purchased some of the land south from the Disney Corporation and Spanish Springs Town Center was engineered and developed by Disney Management. Actually, Spanish Springs has a lot of similarities to the early Disney Town entrance. Possibly for that period of time and by design, The Villages did operate in the shadows of Disney influence.

The Villages management boasts about maintaining hospitality, stewardship, innovation and creativity along with hard work to keep The Villages an excellent place to live. Many of the residents agree that The Villages is “the place to be.” Why would The Village management want to remove some of the hospitality facilities as originally established in The Villages?  The idea to place apartments in Spanish Springs Town Square whether a whim, a concept or a command, without The Village residents input is basically social structuring. Apartments are a dead end cause offering no hospitality replacement and little employment opportunity. 

Spanish Springs Town Square is designed and operated as a commercial area from inception to recently as an entertainment and hospitality place for people that lived in surrounding areas with The Village residents. Changing the zoning regulation laws from commercial use to residential living is questionable.  Why will the Town of Lady Lake not change residential living area to commercial use?  Spanish Springs needs a hospitality place that offers similar to what Katie Belle’s featured to attract many people most of each day. Special event functions have very little hospitality places for attendees to dine or buy drinks without dealing with long lines.     

The Village management should give The Village residents the opportunity to participate in what happens to Spanish Springs. Recognizing the fact that The Village Developer owns the buildings in Spanish Springs Town Square, but the residents have to live with the results of any change.  Although zoning changes are academic endeavors for designated operational uses by rearranging bricks and mortar and area usage. Resulting living conditions and standards reaches a higher level of issues that determine how people live under conditions as proposed by zoning changes. 

Jim Cipollone is a resident of The Villages.

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