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You don’t look a day over 24

Lakewood Ranch celebrates its silver anniversary.

  • East County
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Ah, 25. Let’s face it: It’s not one of the most fun birthdays you’ll ever have, like 16, or 18, or, of course, the infamous 21.

Kat Hughes
Kat Hughes

But it’s definitely a milestone nonetheless. Twenty-five says: You’ve made it. You’re an adult.

Sort of.

At least, at 25, we can say you’re not a kid anymore. You’ve grown up and you have more responsibility now. People expect things from you. They rely on you.

It’s also the age of so much unlocked potential. You’ve gotten those ugly growing pains out of the way (braces, acne, etc.) and you’ve emerged as a clearer, more focused version of yourself. In essence, we can see who you are — your personality, your values, your ambitions.

Although Lakewood Ranch is not a person, and never got a driver’s license or voted for the first time or had acne for that matter, it definitely has been busy growing. And in many ways, the community has gone through the same process of growing up that we do.

In the beginning, it was hard to see what would grow out of those miles of cow pastures and timber stands. It wasn’t always apparent how everything would come together and fit and function in this community that at the time seemed like it was so far east from everything else (according to Sarasotans, anyways).

But look at it now ... burgeoning, blossoming, gelling. It has grown up into quite the beauty.

So, rather than looking back  on Lakewood Ranch’s history from the past 25 years, we decided to focus on that beauty and embrace what we love about it now. We wanted to celebrate its 25th birthday with all the things that make it great (see Page 60).

From its parks, nature and green spaces to its shops, restaurants, events and clubs, it was hard to narrow it down to just 25 things. Really hard.

Which just goes to show that the community is everything it was planned to be: an attractive, cohesive place with a strong identity.

The other important thing about turning 25, is it’s less about where you’ve been, and more about what’s to come.

For Lakewood Ranch, there’s a lot left to come. In fact, it’s just a little more than halfway to its planned development. So just imagine all the things we have to look forward to.

That’s maybe the best thing about being 25.