Never missing an opportunity to have a party, year two at Ann’s Choice kicked off with an event in Banners Café on August 2. A standing room only crowd of residents and staff heard from Joe LoCascio and other staff members, who talked about the growth of the community. Pioneer residents Joan and Sandy Greenberg spoke about their reasons for moving to Ann’s Choice (“Once we made the decision to move, we never looked back,” noted Joan) and their first-year impressions. And a good time was had by all!
Elections for the first Resident Advisory Council had been held with the following results: Ken Longman (elected chair); Charley Gysi (elected vice-chair); Harding Lindhult (secretary); Harry Kearney, Bob Luebbe, Cynthia Woodson, and Terry Heaton.
In the first issue of RAC Matters, a publication of the Ann’s Choice Resident Advisory Council, the lead story concerned the shortage of parking spaces near the clubhouse and especially a lack of guest parking. RAC’s response was to survey parking issues around Westwood Place, the locus for most of the complaints. While parking near the buildings was scare, parking in a 55-space lot at the far end of Westwood was barely used.
The newsletter outlined other accomplishments of the RAC, including take out meal availability at Banners Café; benches and tables available at frequently used entrances; and clearly identified visitor parking spaces.
The newsletter also noted that eleven of the fourteen students who were dining room servers when Ann’s Choice opened in 2003 were still with us.
September 14 was a significant landmark in Ann’s Choice history: the grand opening of the Treasure Chest. The Treasure Chest sells items no longer wanted by residents and gives the proceeds to our Scholars Fund and Benevolent Care Fund. It has also provided seed money for various campus organizations.
The December, 2004, edition of RAC Matters noted that the staff appreciation fund received over $79,000 in contributions.
As of December 1, there were 411 occupied apartments with 596 residents. The Marketing Department was preparing for the three apartment buildings that would join Dawson Terrace and Montgomery Court: Westwood Place, Park View and Hampton Ridge.
In 2004 our monthly newsletter was born. The name Annagram was the top vote-getter in the “Name the Resident Newsletter” contest, suggested by Richard Cummings.
In the second issue of the Annagram, Executive Director Joe LoCascio thanked residents for their support during the start up phase of operations as we “worked the kinks out of our systems.” Reports from several of the Town Hall meetings devoted to Dining Services issues were included in this issue. Among the concerns voiced by residents were a request for different types of rolls (approved); a desire for Lazy Susans on the tables (denied – they take up too much room, among other reasons); more salt and pepper shakers on the tables (approved). In a January, 2004, Town Hall held by General Services, concerns were raised about latches that sometimes stick, away forms, handicapped parking, gatehouse protocol, and HVAC filters. Longtime Ann’s Choice residents will be interested – but not surprised – to learn that this issue of the Annagram included a reminder to return shopping carts!
In the third issue of the Annagram, concerns raised at the March 4 Town Hall were addressed. The Resident Life Department advised scooter and wheelchair users where to park their vehicles when leaving campus and fielded a request for a ping pong table (to be available in the second clubhouse). At the June Town Hall, General Services addressed the problem of residents putting their trash outside their doors on the wrong days and times, temperature control in common areas, and lights being left on in the community spaces when no one is there (reason? to encourage residents to use the rooms).
The July calendar of events provides a sample of the many activities available to residents during this period: ladies billiards, low impact aerobics, pottery, gardening, tai chi, Red Hats, chorus, bridge, poker, Woodshop, Sit & Stitch, bingo, photography, pinochle, assorted trips, book club, and meetings of the Jewish resident group, the library committee, entertainment committee, and the Channel 5 team, among others. One year after our opening there were approximately 45 clubs up and running. With the opening of Warminster Township Park in October, 2003, residents had access to a 243 acre community park with paved pathways and a playground for the grandchildren. Ann’s Choice made a significant donation to support the development of the park’s access road, landscaping, and parking facilities.
In November, Penn State’s continuing education department provided faculty to teach courses in art history, English literature and computer basics. This fledgling effort is now a full-blown adult education program, the Ann’s Choice Lifelong Learning Academy, offering a large variety of courses in fall and spring sessions. Other colleges and universities have signed on to provide instructors. ACLLA is managed by a resident committee with the support of our Community Resources staff.
In April the Prospect Hill Library Committee held its first bake sale, a tradition that continues to this day, during National Library Week. Some residents baked and other residents bought and the Library netted $400, considered an amazing success by all.
Also launched in 2004 was Erickson Resident Computer Services, a pilot project here that expanded to other Erickson communities. Information technology manager Matt Betz, who is responsible for staff technology needs, also makes house calls to assist residents. As one resident said, “If I didn’t have Matt, I wouldn’t bother with having a computer. This is one of the best services at Ann’s Choice.”
The social highlight of the year was the first Gala, held on June 5 at Fireside Restaurant and other locations within Village Clubhouse. A beautifully dressed, enthusiastic crowd of residents, staff, and local community leaders danced and dined. The theme was “There’s No Place Like Home,” and we all agreed with that sentiment! Proceeds from the event benefitted the Benevolent Care Fund.
Imagines of America: Warminster Township
The Erickson Tribune
Prospect Hill Library archives