An official has raised the idea of the Amenity Authority Committee reviving Katie Belle’s as an amenity for Villagers.
Community Development District 2 Supervisor Jim Cipollone raised the idea on the eve of a meeting in which The Villages will go before the Lady Lake Commission with its latest pitch for seven age-restricted apartments at the former dining and dance hall which was once the toast of The Villages.
The apartments would be located in the Van Patten House which was one of the first buildings in Spanish Springs Town Square.The Van Patten House was built in the 1990s, by Villages Founder Harold Schwartz and his son, Developer H. Gary Morse. They wanted a special place for residents to enjoy a tasty meal while shopping or enjoying the nightly entertainment in the Gazebo. Thus, Katie Belle’s was born. Many Villagers probably don’t know that Katie Belle’s was named after Schwartz’s mother. Nor are they aware that at one time it encompassed two stories and resembled a Western dance hall, with the upper section overlooking the downstairs stage and large dance floor.
Cipollone, a vocal critic of the planned apartments, is suggesting that rather than creating multiple tenants with apartments, The Villages could have a single tenant – the AAC.
“The AAC north of County Road 466 has the ability to spend money for improvements to recreation centers, sport facilities, etc. Since The Village management as stated closed Katie Belle’s for in the red financial considerations, by their own doing, traffic issues and the real reason yet to be disclosed. Why can’t the AAC increase the amenity fees, in conjunction with The Villages hire a facilities manager and take over Katie Belle’s for the residents?” Cipollone said.
Do you support the idea of the AAC reviving Katie Belle’s? Share your thoughts in a Letter to the Editor at [email protected].