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The Villages
Monday, June 5, 2023

Revitalization of Wildwood’s downtown to begin in next few months 

Revitalization of Wildwood’s downtown is expected to start in a few months after commissioners approved final agreements with a Lake County firm at a special meeting Monday.

Under the agreements, demolition will begin within 90 days to a prepare a site for a 126-space parking garage on the west side of U.S. 301 across from City Hall.

Commissioners also approved the $300,000 sale of dilapidated historic buildings to GC Development of Lake County, also known as G3, so the buildings can be renovated and leased to businesses. Two of the buildings, also across from City Hall, have been vacant for years and the city bought them two years ago for renovation.

Wildwood officials hope the projects will stimulate downtown investment and draw more people to the area.

“I think we’ve got a real opportunity,” said Mayor Ed Wolf. “We’ll develop a thriving downtown area and it’ll spread to other parts of the city.”

Commissioner Joe Elliott said the projects will benefit both the city and G3.

“I think it’s an absolutely fantastic idea and much needed,” he said.

To save money, the city decided to finance the $7.8 million cost of the parking garage instead of leasing it from G3.

Besides the property sale agreement, commissioners also approved a master core agreement that ties the parking garage to the renovation of the historic buildings and a downtown revitalization agreement

Last June, commissioners approved an initial agreement with G3 regarding the parking garage and commercial property. The city solicited competing bids from other firms but none were received.

A master plan for downtown development was adopted in November 2021.

Downtown properties on the east side of U.S. 301 were torn down in the 1960s for expansion of the highway.


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