Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Gray Rush

         One of the things that most amazes me about Florida is the huge expanse of undeveloped land interspersed with cattle ranches.
Granted, things started to change with the advent of air conditioning and better methods of draining swampland, but the state still has some catching up to do. And it’s trying its best.
          In comparison to the congestion of Sarasota, Venice is a pretty sedate place. Okay, route 41 hums with four lanes of traffic, and from January through March finding a parking place at the beach can be a challenge, but it’s still pretty low key.
I’m not sure how much longer that’s going to continue. 
In a few years, I may be one of those who can point to a complex of stuccoed buildings and reminisce about how the same space was a field of scrub grass and cows.
          Sarasota is still trying to squeeze in one more high rise, but Venice is experiencing its own building boom. The other day someone commented on a development that’s already sold out. What’s really remarkable is when I drove by it last night, I saw at least 100 completed villas sitting next to several football-fields worth of raw land and foundations. There had to be thousands of acres there. And it’s sold out.
          Living in the small town in Western Massachusetts as I do, it’s hard for me to conceive of that many people coming to just this one area of Florida.
          But as food for thought, Forbes Magazine this year listed the fastest growing cities in the country. In the top ten were:

# 1 Ft. Myers
#2 Orlando area
#4 Daytona Beach
#5 Jacksonville
#6 Northport/Sarasota
#8 Tampa/St. Petersburg

Those of us born between 1946 and 1964 – aka the boomers - are retiring at the rate of 10,000 per day, and apparently we’re heading to Florida.


  1. Sigh. My sister lives near Tampa and the traffic is already awful in the winter when the Snowbirds are there. In the summer, it's almost a ghost town! :-)

  2. I know one boomer who won't be retiring to Florida. She's staying right here in Adelaide, Australia.

  3. As it ever was. When I grew up in Florida in the 1970s, the old-timers were constantly lamenting the loss of "their" Florida. Now, when I go to Florida, mine is gone too! When I lived in Venice, Capri Isles Boulevard still passed some vacant land before dead-ending at Waterford, which was brand new, and Pinebrook Road didn't go north of Edmondson. There was essentially nothing east of the Interstate. Now it's all much more built up, as you know!

    I worry about Florida's ecology -- the animals, the sea life, the water supply. It's quite delicate, and there's only so much pressure the natural world can take. (And ranches, though they aren't built up, aren't really wild land, either.)

  4. amazing so many people are moving there only to be swallowed up by the ocean in a decade or two.

  5. Afraid I'm straying from the pack here; watching a snow shower on April 5th over my coffee is just too enticing.

  6. This boomer won't be joining the crowd either. I suspect we need vacant land, where-ever we live. Too much build up puts incredible pressures on just about everything.

  7. ...and the boomers go to Florida and buy a winter home!


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