Seniors can own home without the hassles


Jack Steel says he's "tickled pink" to be the first resident of Wildwood Park, a new Carroll County community for seniors in Mount Airy.

But it would be nice to have some neighbors.

"It's awfully quiet," said Mr. Steel, 84, the first and only homeowner in the development, who moved into his new home two weeks ago. "I feel almost like a hermit up here."

Mr. Steel won't be alone for long. Wildwood Park's second residents are scheduled to move in this weekend.

The development, at Ridge and Park avenues, is Mount Airy's first senior housing community. The development is intended to appeal to local seniors who no longer want the responsibility of larger homes, but who aren't ready to move into an assisted living facility.

Three of the 11 homes in Wildwood's first phase are complete and six have been sold, said Michael Berman, the community's developer.

Mr. Steel, the former Mount Airy postmaster, said he became interested in Wildwood Park when he heard about plans for the development a few years ago.

Mr. Steel didn't want to move from Mount Airy, where he has lived since he was 10, but the upkeep on his three-story house on Montgomery Street had become too much for him to handle.

His new two-bedroom, two-bath, single-level detached home on Wildwood Avenue is beginning to feel like home. His own landscape paintings decorate the walls throughout the house and his collection of ceramic lions is displayed in a glass case in the living room.

Now that he is settled in, he plans a trip to the library and senior center, which is next door.

Mr. Berman said he is pleased with the home sales in the community so far.

"We've been able to appeal to people that live in Mount Airy," Mr. Berman said. "For the most part, we're selling to seniors who own their own homes."

Homes in Wildwood Park are priced from $110,000 for a one-bedroom, one-bath model to $140,000 for a three-bedroom home with 2 1/2 baths. The community's residents also pay a $53 monthly fee for lawn maintenance.

Prices on the units have gone up about $2,500 since February because of increases in the county's impact and building permit fees, the developer said.

"For a while, we thought the higher fees might price us out of the market for seniors that live in the community," Mr. Berman said. He estimates construction on the final 16 units of Wildwood Park will be completed next summer.

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