Grand Opening of Wolf Creek Lodge Senior Cohousing:
Winner of the 2011 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for Sustainable Communities
WHEN: Saturday, October 6, 2012; 1- 4 PM, ribbon cutting at 2 pm.
WHERE: 800 Freeman Lane, Grass Valley, CA
(the corner of McKnight Ave & Freeman Lane)
A new affordable senior cohousing near Sierra County-that was inspired by local small towns like Downieville and Goodyears Bar-will celebrate its Grand Opening this Saturday. The architect, Chuck Durrett, grew up in Goodyears Bar and has been active in plans to bring senior cohousing to Downieville. This 30-unit project in nearby Grass Valley shows us the benefits of community that cohousing for seniors offers.
Wolf Creek Lodge demonstrates an innovative approach to environmental and social sustainability by creating a neighborhood where seniors can support each other. *The winner of the prestigious California State 2011 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for Sustainable Communities, the community will be the fifth senior cohousing community completed in the country, and the first completed since the recession.
Both the community’s location and its design add to its environmental sustainability. Located within easy walking distance to stores and restaurants, the community has set aside 3.5 acres of permanent open space along beautiful Wolf Creek. In addition, McCamant & Durrett Architects designed the building to be extremely energy-efficient (60% better than current California Code) with solar panels providing domestic hot water and a radiant (in-floor) heating system. Building materials were chosen to minimize impact on the environment and to enhance indoor air quality.
Internationally-known cohousing architects and authors, Katie McCamant and Chuck Durrett, began the project by coalescing a group of interested people in 2006. These pro-active (not just “active”) seniors weren’t satisfied with existing retirement housing options. They don’t want to be managed. They don’t want to live with hundreds of other seniors. Instead they envision a vibrant neighborhood made up of 30 privately-owned one- and two-bedroom homes, shared open spaces, and a 4,000 sq. ft. common house for community gatherings, cooperative activities, and guest accommodations. That buyers group-now 23 households strong-has already formed their social community as they worked together over the last 6 years on the community’s design and development.
Hard work and persistence have finally paid off, as residents of Wolf Creek Lodge get ready to move into their new neighborhood. Originally slated to start construction in the Summer of 2008, the international economic crisis and collapse of construction financing delayed the project for 2 years. It was the commitment of the Lodge buyers that saved the project, and ultimately convinced First Community Bank of Santa Rosa to move forward with the construction loan. The Lodge buyers persevered through this difficult period because they had already formed strong bonds during the planning process. They were able to look beyond the current economic and housing crisis to find the long-term value of creating a socially and environmentally sustainable community, and they put money on the line to back those values.
Many people look forward to their retirement years and find themselves very busy using their skills with local non-profit organizations and pursuing interests they didn’t have time for when they were working and raising families. But in today’s world, we tend to depend on driving to get to most of our interests. Over time, our eyes don’t want to drive at night, and then suddenly a broken hip, or twisted angle keeps us at home. Overnight an active adult can become an isolated senior. The members of Wolf Creek Lodge are thinking forward to create a place where they have an active social life with friends right next door. They’ll be there to help each other, rather than relying on hired staff or senior support services. They may even decide to hire assistance, saving money by working together. By living in a walkable neighborhood, they will be less dependent on driving to everything. And many studies have shown that people with a stimulating social life live longer, healthier lives.
To find out more about Wolf Creek Lodge or to look into joining the community, gowww.wolfcreeklodge.org or call 530-478-1970.