LAKEWOOD RANCH — Progress on Lakewood Ranch Town Hall’s new maintenance facility is finally getting traction.
Supervisors on Lakewood Ranch Community Development District 2 learned Nov. 15 that Manatee County officials had signed off on site plans for a maintenance facility, which is slated to be built on 59th Avenue East, near Risen Savior Lutheran Church, off Lorraine Road.
The board now can move forward with purchasing the land from Lakewood Ranch developer-Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, a deal that is scheduled to go through sometime this week.
Financing for the project also is supposed to be finalized by the end of the month. Officials have secured a 12-year, tax-exempt, bank-qualified loan for the more than $2.4 million project.
Although CDD 2 is financing the deal, Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority is leading the project. The agency was set up to handle common issues for Lakewood Ranch’s five CDDs. The IDA, at the board’s Nov. 15 meeting, agreed to a 25-year lease agreement with CDD 2 for the property.
The proposed maintenance facility will be about 8,700 square feet.
Town Hall Director of Operations Ryan Heise said modifications to the building’s original design included more office and storage space.
At the Nov. 15 meeting, CDD 2 supervisors also learned they would be paying $10,000 more for services associated with refinancing Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, a project that was added after consultants began working on a financing package for the maintenance facility. Costs associated with financing for the project overall, however, remain under budget.
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• Supervisors voted to authorize the boards’ respective chairmen to sign a letter asking Manatee County to consider resurfacing portions of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, south of River Club Boulevard, during its upcoming budget process.
• Supervisors voted to elect Gil Pearce as the board’s newest member. He replaces Gary Berns, who resigned at the last meeting.
Upon his appointment, Pearce will resign from his board position with the Summerfield Riverwalk Village Association. He will remain active at homeowner association meetings, he said.
• Supervisors welcomed Chris Van Hise to serve as the board’s attorney. He replaces Jeff Russell, who died in mid-October.
Van Hise, who has virtually no CDD experience, is being retained an ongoing basis.
CDDs 2 & 5
• CDD 2 supervisors noticed a meeting for 9 a.m. Nov. 29 for a public hearing on a proposed budget amendment that provides an overall increase of $22,100 for previously unbudgeted storm-drain inlet repairs. Monies would be moved from road reserves and would not result in a special assessment.
• CDD 5 supervisors said discussion on whether to allow Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club members from the County Club East community transponder access through the Players Drive gate likely would conclude at the December meeting.
• CDD 5 supervisors scheduled a shade meeting about the district’s storm-sewer litigation for Dec. 3.
• Supervisors noted the Greenbrook Village Association is seeking homeowners to serve on the association’s board. Interested parties should contact Town Hall at 907-0202.
Stepleman honored for service
Supervisors in CDD 2 ended their meeting by celebrating the service of longtime Supervisor Bob Stepleman, who is retiring and will be replaced later this month by Mike Finney.
Stepleman has been on the board for more than 10 years and is actively involved in the community.
“He’s been here since the beginning of the Country Club, and a good chunk of Lakewood Ranch,” CDD board member Tom Green said, commending Stepleman for his “strong leadership and out-of-the box thinking.” “Bob asks the questions a lot of times we don’t think to ask. He’s provided us (with very strong leadership).”
Stepleman thanked the community for its support.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said of his departure. “I’ve enjoyed playing a role in leading the community and seeing it grow.”
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Coats for kids
Knights of Columbus Councils are helping children in need by providing coats to children in their communities through the order’s Coats for Kids program.
Santa and his elf made a surprise stop Dec. 13, at WineStyles, in San Marco Plaza, by Harley-Davidson motorcycle, during the store’s weekly Friday night wine-tasting event.
Members and guests of the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club ventured Dec. 4 to Orlando, to view holiday decorations at the Grand Floridian and to have lunch at Downtown Disney.