I support the new Southwood pool and park

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Dear Mayor & City Commissioners:

I want the children and residents of Southwood to be able to play sports – football, soccer, basketball, baseball, and sand volleyball – in their neighborhood. And we clearly need a second pool, where residents can take water aerobics, swim laps or just float and relax. Our kids should be able to ride their bikes to practice or play a pick-up game in their community. This was part of Southwood’s original plan.

The proposed Southwood pool and sports park is a necessary investment in our future – an investment that will enhance the uniqueness and quality of life of this wonderful community and raise our property values along the way. We will recoup our costs quickly after the park is completed in the form of increased property values, and a community park also helps homes sell faster. Southwood is already a very successful community, but we are still growing. We must continue to grow our recreational infrastructure along with the rest of Southwood. This investment is also affordable, less than most spend per month at Starbucks.

As a community of over 3,300 acres, 1,600 homes, and 5,000 residents, Southwood currently enjoys very few active recreational facilities. We have two tennis courts (HOA), a Tot Lot (CDD), and an activity pool (HOA). The activity pool is overcrowded and not suitable for exercise swimming. Our motto is Live, Work and Play, and a community of our size needs more amenities for active recreation. Hundreds of homes have been added in the last few years with zero additional recreational facilities.

I am not concerned that the new Southwood facilities will be “open to the public.” As our neighborhood park, it will overwhelmingly be used by the adjacent community (Southwood), and I am confident most Southwoodians do not fear sharing our community park with non-residents, just like we currently do with our beautiful parks, nature trails, lakes and green spaces. Moreover, a pass will be required to get into the pool, just like our current pool. Non-Southwood residents who wish to use the pool will be required to purchase an annual pass, to equitably share the costs for its construction and maintenance. The fields and courts will be managed by the Southwood CDD, where reservations and user fees from any organized team play will also help offset our maintenance costs.

We encourage you to approve the proposed Southwood-COT land lease agreement when it comes before the City Commission for a vote. This is a critical partnership for the future of Southwood. Thank you for your consideration.

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