Fourth town square announced for The Villages

A fourth town square south of State Road 44 is part of a 30-year road construction agreement approved Tuesday by the Sumter County Board of Commissioners.

The town square’s location is not specified on a map of future road construction, but the agreement also calls for The Villages Land Co. and The Villages Development Co. to build roads and be reimbursed by the county.

Signed by Kelsea Morse Manly, manager of The Villages Land Co., and Harper Boone, manager of The Villages Development Co., the agreement also states that The Villages companies plan to build a 432-acre industrial park south of Coleman.

“The Villages of Southern Oaks and the new industrial park will together provide significant employment and economic development,” the agreement states.

The Villages owns most of the land south of SR 44 and has completed a transportation plan for the area. Although most of the land is in Wildwood, the county is responsible for most of the roadway network.

According to the agreement, The Villages is required to “develop the 4th town center or comparable lifestyle mixed-use retail center solely within Sumter County with aggregate regionally-serving commercial square footages similar in size to the existing town centers located in Sumter County (Lake Sumter Landing or Brownwood, respectively).”

Planned regional roadway improvements are extensive and reimbursement from the Florida Department of Transportation will be available for expanding state roadways.

Planned roadway improvements include widening U.S. 301 to four lanes from SR 44 to County Road 470 and CR 470 to four lanes from U.S. 301 to the county line.

Buena Vista Boulevard will be extended south to Meggison Road, a new road that will run from SR 44, past County Road 468 to the Lake County line.

The longest continuous road starts as Marsh Bend Trail at U.S. 301, flows into Corbin Trail past CR 468 and then past CR 470, where it becomes what now is called Road C as it connects to CR 471.

Other improvements include an extension of Morse Boulevard from the curve south of SR 44, south to the Flordia Turnpike, expansion of County Road 501 currently under way, extension of County Road 525 west of U.S. 301 and development of smaller roads like Fenney Way and Reader Path. South of the curve, Morse Boulevard now is called Warm Springs Drive.

County Administrator Bradley Arnold also told commissioners that TECO Peoples Gas Co. has agreed under protest to relocate its gas line to accommodate construction of a multi-modal tunnel under CR 468 near CR 501. The gas company maintains that it is a “private golf tunnel” related to amenities in The Villages.

“PGS will relocate its facilities under protest and hereby reserves its right to collect reimbursement for all work related to this project,” the company state in a June 25 letter to Arnold.

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