If you attend the twice-a-month meetings of the Gateway CDD, you might think you’re living in a retirement community. Not that I attend the meetings in person, but I see enough people on video to feel safe drawing that conclusion.

Earlier this week I promised I would break down the population of Gateway by age. The reason being that some older people who control (or wish to control) how Gateway spends its money are actively trying to get rid of an upcoming five-year, $80,000 per year expense of replacing field lights at the community soccer fields, among other things.

As I’ve explained, there would be a domino effect. No lights means no youth leagues (both leagues have said so). No youth leagues means no field usage. No field usage turns in to “why do we have these fields again?”.

I searched rather exhaustively and found all kinds of data that described the population of Gateway. Much of the information is happily provided by Realtors or real estate sites, but in many cases the data is based off the 2010 census and then extrapolated by some possibly unscientific method.

So although the data is 6 years old, the responsible thing to do is to go over the data from the Gateway CDP (Census Designated Place) from 2010.

As of the most recent census, 13.04% of the entire United States population were retirement age – 65 and older.

In Gateway it was 12.97%.

Debate over. I could drop the mic right there. Gateway is officially not a retirement community.

But let’s dig deeper.

A total of 1,090 people were 65 and older, and that’s a lot.

But 2,253 people were under the age of 18. And that’s a lot, too.

Meanwhile those in parenting ages of 25-54 (ie: people who would want things for their kids to do) numbered 3,467.

I understand that not all of the elderly people want to shut down the lights. Conversely, not all the moms and dads out there would list spending money on the Sherman Soccer Complex as a priority for them.

But if you do break it down … at the point of the census there were 5,720 people who were more likely to think the fields are a community priority, versus 1,090 people who were more likely to think not.

Fun fact: there were almost as many foreigners in Gateway (991) as there were retirees. And who needs those damn foreigners anyway? Especially the ones who set up blogs that pester local politicians… (I’m kidding. I’m not a US citizen myself. I’m Canadian. It’s a joke.)

As of the 2010 Census, Gateway is America. Both have a 13% retirement population. Now maybe it’s 15% today and maybe it’s 12% but the point is the same.

And as many of you know, due to my day job I would bet you there is nobody who sees more of Gateway in any given week than I do. And I’m telling you, 12-15% retirees is right.

So I’m speaking to you, Ed Tinkle, who will become a GSCDD Supervisor in November. And to you, Kathleen Flaherty, George Huskamp and Carol Stanley who want to join Ed:

When you’re making decisions you need to remember who you’re representing. Somewhere along the way Gary Neubauer started focusing on the 13% and not the 100%, because the group of people he hears from the most are retirement age like he is. Gary lost sight of the big picture.

Gateway residents, did I mention you’re going to spend over $5,000,000 this year to fix like 13 ponds? You’re going to spend over $5,000,000 this year to fix like 13 ponds.

How many people look at those specific ponds that will cost $5M this year? 100?

How many kids play flag football and soccer on the fields that costs $250k/year? Over 1,000.

How many parents watch and socialize? Also over 1,000.

Now I was rough on Gary and George this past week. But with the stunt they tried to pull, combined with things like the email I got from Gary bitching about having to pay to repaint and repair soccer goals (I mean, really?!), I felt I had to do something.

Hopefully seeing these numbers will give them some perspective and help them see the big picture.

Supervisors and future Supervisors, you’re serving an entire, growing, thriving, family-based community… not just the people you’re social with.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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