Finally, someone has the stones to publish some truths about this place. Thank you. Everyone in my area, as well as, anyone who is currently employed by The Villages needs a copy of "Leisureville". It's better than therapy. I am a certified builder and have worked for these people for over 12 years. I have lived here locally for over 20 years and watched as the prestine beauty of the area that was fields of grandfather oaks and fox squirrels turn to cookie cutter houses and repeat shopping. Yes, I profited heavily in the housing boom, but I can tell you how homes were pushed to be built in 30 days start to finish and how county inspectors seemed to be "robo signing" inspection cards. This place has no bones or history like many other great places to live. It is surrounded by rampant poverty and high unemployment. It seems as if the Villagers are all bitter when you come into contact with them. Maybe they're pissed because they can't unload their home in Florida's falling house market, or they did everything and are bored. The locals hate the place and go to bed at night loathing that their local gov't is controlled completely by the developer. Roads crumble outside the borders while flower beds are replanted after every cold snap within. County tax revenues seem to be misappropriated. Recently, the local high school was consolidated with the middle school for lack of county funds - while the developer plans a new turnpike exchange and towncenter. When the developer needs an agenda pushed or funds raised, he leans on the subcontractors and business owners for "voluntary" donations. It gets old.....quick!
I agree with you. I think it's wasteful ideology to save your entire life only to live segregated by age and confine oneself to "retirement communities". The word "retirement" itself is a goal less thought of by my generation (X) and surely by the Y and Z gen. "Live now", we say. I recommend "4 Hour Work Week", by Tim Ferriss. This could very well sum up the mindset of the next generations and lead to the termination of phrases like "retirement communities".
If you plan a part two to "Leisureville", I would be more than helpful (free of charge) to fill in any blanks with my extensive experiences as an insider and as a local of 20 years.
Thanks again for a great read!