A big crowd showed up at Wednesday morning’s Amenity Authority Committee meeting at Savannah Center to learn about the anticipated rebuilding of Paradise Recreation Center.
The recreation center on the Historic Side of The Villages was established in 1984. It saw a major renovation in 2006. Director of Recreation John Rohan remembered starting his long career in The Villages in the early 1990s at Paradise Recreation Center.
You can view a Power Point presentation on the history of Paradise Recreation Center at this link: REC546_Paradise_Recreation_Powerpoint_0722
The current building is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and it is outdated, by the standards of The Villages.
“Our residents deserve a world-class recreation center,” said Bruce Brown of District Property Management.
Brown pointed to the newly opened First Responders Recreation Center as an example of what can be accomplished through commitment and strong planning.
He noted that the idea of demolishing and rebuilding the Paradise Recreation Center has been discussed for several years and he said it’s time for a decision to move forward. He said even if the process begins soon, the ribbon would not be cut at the new facility until 2025.
Demolition of the Paradise Recreation could take place as early as in January 2024.
AAC members expressed concerns about displacing residents from Paradise Recreation Center during the rebuilding process.
AAC member Sandy Mott wanted to know where the people and activities who call the Paradise Recreation Center home will go during the reconstruction. She noted that many of the residents who use Paradise Recreation Center are “older and less mobile.”
Rohan said “every effort” will be made to provide temporary accommodations and it is hoped that many activities will be shifted to nearby recreation centers at La Hacienda, Chula Vista and Tierra Del Sol.
AAC member Donna Kempa said she has been hearing from residents who don’t want a resort-style pool at Paradise. Kempa said an anticipated survey on the future of Paradise Recreation Center should include questions about the pool.
Sandy Holmgren, a resident of the Historic Side of The Villages, said that during a recent closure of another pool, she and other Villagers were met with “open hostility” when they went to another pool.
“They let us know it was ‘their pool,’” she said.
AAC Board Chairman Don Deakin said that all pools are open to all residents.
The AAC voted unanimously to move forward with a survey and planning the demolition and reconstruction of Paradise Recreation Center.