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‘Living here just makes sense’

Willow Park is an independent living apartment complex for seniors in Waite Park

Darlene and Dan Thielman, the first residents of Willow Park in Waite Park, enjoy a glass of wine. Willow Park has a full activity calendar each month, including holiday parties, bingo nights, card parties, live music, wine-tasting events, occasional dinners at a local restaurant, coffee groups, birthday celebrations and more. Photo by Cathy Nelson

“There’s great camaraderie here.”

“There’s something to do all the time.”

“It’s a safe, secure building.”

“It’s affordable.”

“We have the friendliest people here.”

“There’s no grass to mow, no snow to clear, no furnace to replace.”

Those are comments made by a few residents raving about life at Willow Park, an independent living apartment complex for 55 and over, located in Waite Park.

Willow Park was the first of its kind independent living apartment complex for seniors not affiliated with a nursing facility, built in the St. Cloud area, three years ago. The opportunities for socialization with new friends, in an apartment community, are a key part of what residents love. “The independent living apartment lifestyle has become popular with seniors,” said Joann Weber, resident manager, who lives on site and is the social director. “We have a quiet environment, which residents like, but the social calendar is full.”

There are holiday parties, bingo nights, card parties, live music, wine-tasting events, occasional dinners at a local restaurant, coffee groups, birthday celebrations, and classes in nutrition, balance and Tai Chi. And, that’s not all. Resident Dan Thielman joked, “If there’s something special going on, we have to have a party!”

Because of the growing interest in this lifestyle for active adults, Windsor Greene, offering affordable, upscale independent living apartments for 55 and over, will open its doors, in Waite Park, by late summer.

Windsor Greene’s location at 100 Wellington Circle, behind Dick’s Sporting Goods and Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market, on Hwy. 23, makes it very convenient for those residents who want to walk to restaurants, grocery stores, banks, the post office, and shopping malls. For the golfing enthusiast, Angushire Golf Club, a nine-hole, par 35 course, is across the street, and Quarry Park and Nature Preserve, offering walking trails, wildlife and scenic views, is only a couple of miles west of Windsor Greene.

Weber explained that Windsor Greene will be luxury apartment that are affordable. There will be 66 apartments, with several floor plans available–one bedroom/one bath, one bedroom/one bath with den, two bedroom/two bath, and two bedroom/two bath with den. Rent includes: heat, electricity, cable television, Internet services, water and refuse.

An architectural image of Windsor Greene. Due to the growing interest in places like Willow Park, a new upscale independent living apartment complex, Windsor Greene, will open its doors in Waite Park in late summer. Photo submitted

Each apartment has an open floor plan with a well-equipped gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. There are walk-in pantries, walk-in closets, laundry facilities, and a screened porch. There is a community room, which can be used for playing cards, listening to live music, watching the Twins game, or, just a casual visit with friends over a cup of coffee. Like Willow Park, Windsor Greene will have a library and puzzle room, a fitness center, and a party room for private parties.

Joann Weber (left), Willow Park resident manager, enjoys a visit with residents, Mary Pull, Cathy Falcon and Donny Booen. Photo by Cathy Nelson

A bonus feature at Windsor Greene is the guest suite, which residents can rent if they need extra room for their overnight guests. There are attached and detached garages and an elevator for easy access to all floors.

There will be a screened sun porch, outdoor patio, and fire pits to spend time in nature, in all sorts of weather. There’s little doubt that residents of Windsor Greene will be grilling, tossing bean bags and roasting marshmallows in the months to come.

Donny Booen, a resident of Willow Park, lived in Bertha, 80 miles northwest of St. Cloud, his entire life. Following his wife’s death several years ago, his daughter, Lori, from St. Cloud, urged him to move closer to her and her sister in the Twin Cities. He took a tour, and it didn’t take long before he put his house up for sale. It’s been two and a half years since his move, and he has no regrets. “I enjoy it here,” he said. “I’ve met new friends, and I keep busy. My daughter says, ‘There’s something going on there all the time.’ And, I’ve figured it’s cheaper to live here. You pay rent, but there are no other bills. Before, it was taxes, insurance, water, sewer, TV.” He added, “Living here just makes sense.”

Willow Park residents Marcy Hughes, Cathy Falcon, Mary Pull and Donny Booen play cards. Photo by Cathy Nelson

Senior apartment communities are designed to meet the needs of active adults who want to spend less time and money on home maintenance and yardwork, and more time doing what they want to do. Weber touts the health benefits of living in an independent living apartment community like Willow Park or Windsor Greene. Many seniors, who remain in their own home, experience social isolation and loneliness, which can lead to depression and health issues. “But, nobody has to be lonely here,” Weber insisted. “We’re like a family.”

Weber is currently answering questions, giving tours and showing floor plans to people interested in reserving an apartment at Windsor Greene, which will open in approximately six months. For more information about Windsor Greene, a private tour, or to reserve your new home, contact Joann Weber at 320-828-6125.

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