Leisure center aims for the stars | News | Daily Sun Villages


The Homestead Recreation Center will be a star in the community, predicts John Rohan, director of The Villages Recreation and Parks. Citrus Grove Village’s newest amenity officially opened Friday to rave reviews, despite the weather not cooperating with one of the evening’s scheduled events. Hundreds of residents visited the facility and enjoyed the boardwalk nature trail, dog park, resort-style family pool, and favorites like pickleball, tennis, bocce, and shuffleboard. One of the center’s expected main attractions, the astronomy pads with electricity for the telescopes, could not be used during an evening showcase due to cloud cover. However, members of the Villages Astronomy Club were on hand to show off several telescopes and tell residents about their club.

Mark Graybill, club chairman, said members looked forward to being able to use the facility on clearer nights.

“We’re very excited about the new convenience,” he said. “It’s a great setup and will be a great resource for astronomers.”

Graybill, of the Village of Liberty Park, said the club’s more than 300 members appreciate the efforts of recreation department staff and the developer for including the astronomy park in the center’s plans.

“We worked with the Recreation and Parks Department to get a site like this and it went really well,” he said. “We look forward to throwing star parties and enjoying late nights.”

The astronomy pads represent the great partnerships that exist in the community, Rohan said.

“Again, this is an example of how a vision can become a reality through great partnerships between the developer, residents and the Recreation and Parks Department,” he said. “The members of the astronomy club had requested a place where they could set up to observe the stars and we were happy to be able to collaborate with them on this installation, as we have been able to do with so many other programs over the years. year. “

Astronomy pads can be reserved for nighttime observing sessions by calling the recreation center at 352-674-1971.

Chris Iannello, recreation supervisor at the center, was thrilled to finally be able to show off the new property.

“It’s always exciting to open another great recreation center,” he says. “People have been waiting for this. With all the amenities we have here, I think they’re going to have a blast.

The interior of the recreation center has a farm theme. Indoor facilities include a games room with billiards, darts and shuffleboard, a card room, a large meeting room and a kitchen area. Patti Davis, of the Village of Bradford, said she and her husband, Rich, had been monitoring the progress of the center for months. They were particularly interested in the Astronomy Park, which also includes three corn throwing fields, three horseshoe pits and a picnic pavilion.

“We get our bikes down this way every day, so we tracked the progress,” she said. “We were always curious to know what they were doing here. I’m always impressed with how they try to bring new ideas to each new center.

Kathy Katerman and her dog Buddy are happy to have a dog park closer to their new home in the village of Citrus Grove.

“We’ve been here a month and we were going to the other dog parks,” she said. “I made a map where they are all and tried to hit them all. But we can cycle here.

Katerman said Buddy, a Métis rescue, gives the new park “two thumbs up.”

“He runs like crazy and makes new friends in every park,” she said. “I’m very happy with the way The Villages designs everything. Everything is very impressive.

Steve and Marcia Lawrence moved into their home in the village of Sainte-Catherine just after Christmas. They enjoyed discussing a walk on the boardwalk nature trail through the wetlands that border the center.

“It’s a very pleasant and calming walk,” Marcia said. “It’s a short walk, but the scenery is beautiful.” Rohan is confident that Homestead will be a popular place.

“It’s going to blow people away,” he said. “The concept is unique with, of course, the astronomy park area, the nature walking trail, then you add a dog park and all the land with so many favorite activities. Then you go inside and you have the games room with billiards, darts and shuffleboard, you have the kitchen, the meeting room and the card room. There are endless programming possibilities for residents inside and out. It’s definitely going to be a fan favorite.


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