Rotonda West, Florida

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Rotonda West is a census-designated place (CDP) in Charlotte County, Florida, United States. The population was 6,574 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Punta Gorda Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was developed and named Rotonda West by Cavanagh Communities Corporation, the developers of a projected but now defunct community named Rotonda in southern Martin County and northern Palm Beach County.[1]

Contents

History

Rotonda West is an unincorporated, deed-restricted community situated in west Charlotte County, FL. It was originally developed by the Cavanagh Communities Corporation, which sold the entire Rotonda complex in 1980 after several years of financial difficulties. It is an unusual subdivision, in that it is shaped like an incomplete wagon wheel. A closed, fresh-water canal system surrounds the outside of the "wheel" and travels inside each of the pie-shaped wedges forming the subdivisions of the development. A protected wetland to the south prevents development of that area. Alligators, bald eagles, great blue herons, egrets, and many other birds and animals inhabit the area.

The oldest and most-developed subdivision, Oakland Hills, once sported Ed McMahon as a home owner. In 1973, the inaugural edition of a television special called Superstars, featuring athletes from different sports competing in various events, was filmed in Rotonda. What is now the community center was a bowling alley. A local track was where the track and field events were held.

As conceptualized, each subdivision was supposed to have its own golf course. The theory was the developers could draw residents by offering "a course a day to play." But beleaguered GDC wasn't able to carry through with their promises, and many developers took turns building out the area.

Although the area struggled for a while during the real estate bust period of the 1980s, in 2005 it is one of the hottest areas to build in, with development escalating in nearly all of the sections and several new golf courses.

Many of the homeowners are seasonal snowbirds from northern states and only live in the area part-time during the winter.

While the area is at risk of flooding from storm surge, it is located towards the center of the Cape Haze peninsula and hasn't flooded in recent memory. During Hurricane Charley in 2004, it was located on the left front quadrant of the storm, and although the eyewall came within a couple of miles of the area, most homes escaped major damage. Several large trees were downed, and many shingle roofs were damaged by winds. Quite a few pool cages and screened-in porches were blown down or damaged, but few houses sustained more than relatively minor damage. After Charley, most of the area had power back on in 13 hours, due in no small part to the fact that utilities such as power, phone, and cable are all run underground. Several overhead main feeder lines supply power to transformers in the area, but they were quickly repaired.

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