Dennis Smith says he'd drive his golf cart to Wildwood if there was something there he needed.
For example, said the 67-year-old retired Villages resident, if there was a hardware store, or if passenger trains returned to the train station along U.S. Highway 301 in town, he'd go to Wildwood.
Another incentive to drive to Wildwood would be if there were charging stations for electric-powered golf carts, such as the one he drives, Smith said.
People who love to drive around in their golf carts may get to do so in Wildwood.
But the idea is just that -- a concept that city officials are just starting to talk about.
The city of Wildwood recently adopted and received state approval for its 2035 Comprehensive Plan, said City Manager Robert Smith.
Included in that plan is a portion that says the city needs to plan for and promote lots of different ways to get around town and try to reduce motor vehicle travel.
At their Jan. 10 meeting, city commissioners told staff to look into ways of making Wildwood more golf cart-friendly, Smith said.
With places like The Villages and other big residential and commercial developments close by, Wildwood asked Sumter County for help on the golf cart idea, he said.
First thing's first, though. City staff must assess the following:
-- Which city roads can accommodate golf carts?
-- Would the future demographics of the city support golf carts as a means of transportation?
-- Safety. Dennis Smith, the retired golfer in The Villages, says this is really the key. "Everybody should be concerned about their safety," he said.
-- If pathways are needed, how would they be constructed and how much would they cost?
-- How would this affect future development?
-- What developments would support golf cart access?
-- What are the requirements for street legal carts?
After an initial assessment, if the commission chooses, the city would look to hire a transportation engineer to do a formal study.
Herman Schultz, manager of Tomlin USA, a golf cart vendor on U.S. Highway 301 just outside Wildwood, said if he were a Wildwood city official, he'd mostly be concerned for the safety of the golf carts and their operators. For example, The Villages has many paths designated for golf carts, and Wildwood should consider building the same types of paths, Schultz said.
"You have to have a designated path," he said.
Wherever the city of Wildwood looks for advice on golf carts, one place to start might the town of Lady Lake. In 1989, the notion first came up for people to get around Lady Lake's portion of The Villages, said police Chief Ed Nathanson.
For years, the Lady Lake portion of The Villages has allowed golf carts. A few subdivisions in Lady Lake that are not part of The Villages also allow golf cart drivers, Nathanson said.
In Lady Lake, people can drive golf carts 24/7, but to drive at night, they need headlights and brake lights, and preferably, some sort of reflectors, Nathanson said.
Lady Lake has experienced very few major problems with golf cart drivers sharing roads with other motorists, the chief said. In about 20 years, Nathanson said he's worked one fatal accident involving a golf cart driver.
The town regularly conducts courses on how golf cart operators can drive safely with other motorists.
"As long as people make safe choices," they'll be OK, Nathanson said.