July 13, 2017 // 11:38 AM

A New Community Takes Shape

Written by Art Petrosemolo

The last days of the Outpost…..It took a while but as the weather heats up this 2017 summer, a new community has formed at Garden Spot’s Sycamore Springs.  Twelve homes (as I write this blog) in the community opposite Garden Spot Village’s main entrance are occupied with new residents coming as far as from Ohio and New Jersey. Finally, our home - the Outpost - at 507 Keyser Way is an outpost no longer.

If you have been a Garden Spot Village resident for any period of time you have known the Sycamore Springs area as farmland and were aware that Garden Spot Village purchased the property, along with adjacent tracks, with an eye toward expansion.

In retirement communities today, expansion isn’t the exception, it pretty much is the rule as Baby Boomers near retirement age and many individuals look to CCRC/Active 55 communities with the amenities they desire even before their official retirement.

For Tina and I, the move was made quickly but with our eyes open. I had asked the President of Fairleigh Dickinson University, who I had worked for as chief public relations officer, to let me go part time in 2009 to oversee the University electronic printing facilities (Academic Publishing), which I had created for him in 2006. He said yes and I had the best part time job for seven years until a new president decided he wanted to out-source and I was asked to do that for him effective 2016. Tina had retired as a high school chemistry teacher in 2015.

Well, Tina and I weren’t going to retire in New Jersey even though living close to the Navesink River and the Atlantic Ocean and sailing all summer certainly was fun. We found Garden Spot mid-winter 2016, committed in the spring and moved in December 28. It was quite an adjustment to move from an area where we had been for 20 years and had lots of friends and were involved in a ton of stuff to both a new community and an area of that community under construction….so we named our home The Outpost.

We never gave it much thought but I can see now, at Look and Learns and open houses, potential Garden Spot Villages residents asking themselves that same question….. am I ready for this move? We tell those who visit our home we have no regrets and are happy we are here.

At Sycamore Spring, the community is being built all at one time. We all are “newbies”  having moved in during the past few months… no one is senior to his/her neighbor… we’re learning together…And, we’re fairly close in age too.

A couple of things have happened in July that make me smile and I see some of the thinking of Garden Spot in building the free standing homes at Sycamore Springs.

First, I notice the couples who occupy the homes lining Sycamore Commons are starting to use the walks for exercise or to visit. Several residents have dogs, some more than one, and they use the open area south of Keyser Way to give their dogs some exercise space.

Many residents, now that we have grass and not blowing dust, are using their front porches to enjoy morning coffee or the quiet of early evening and there is visiting porch-to-porch going on. Pretty cool.

And for the recent July 4th holiday, Tina, working with several of the new neighbors, pulled together a fun afternoon picnic on the large patio that’s a few steps from our front door.

We enjoyed food and friendship for a few hours and then everyone headed off to the concert in the park and fireworks. It was so much fun that Tina, Barbara Endres and Liz Bicking met on July 5 to plan a series of fall get-togethers at the community building. I am pretty sure that’s what Garden Spot Village management had hoped for in this new Sycamore Springs community.

I recently had a colleague and his wife from my Franklin and Marshall College work days visit us. They have lived at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown for 10 years and we visited them for lunch in 2016, early in our CCRC search. We had lunch at the Harvest Table and then came down to 507 Keyser Way. They loved the community and apparently raved about the facilities to friends. I know because I got a call from another F&M colleague who wants to get together and he greeted me with “I hear you live in a pretty special place.”

More and more new residents are moving in and we look forward to welcoming them to the community – this very special place – and being part of the Garden Spot Village experience.

By
Contributing Writer