Communities Adapting in a Crisis
With the emergence of COVID-19, people and communities all over the country have had to develop strategies to stay safe and healthy. While it has certainly been a challenging time, there have also been some amazing examples of resilience and ingenuity.
We talked to three different master-planned communities that routinely rank near the top as best places to retire in the Southeast, and discovered how they adapted to this unprecendented time.
Tellico Village, established in 1987 just half an hour from Knoxville, TN, is a retirement community for active adults in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Three private championship golf courses, and a yacht club on Tellico Lake, are among the many attractions of this village for those who are searching for the best places to retire.
Beth Kuberka, marketing/communication director for the Tellico Village Property Owners Association, explained how the community knew they had to take immediate action since the majority of residents are age 60 and older:
“As soon as the CDC and the President declared a state of emergency, the staff and board moved to start managing the crisis,” said Kuberka.
Residents of Tellico Village began social distancing the second week of March with the closing of their three churches (some devotional services are now online), the recreational facilities, golf course clubhouses and the yacht club.
However, residents still have plenty of options for staying active and enjoying the outdoors, including 15 miles of hiking trails, as well as boating, fishing and kayaking on the lake. The golf courses have also remained open, but with strict rules in place.
Businesses within Tellico Village were also quick to make adjustments, including the pharmacy, which switched to drive-up only, and the supermarket, which installed plexiglass shields at all check-outs.
Additionally, the village fire department, which is rated in the top 20% of the country, proactively separated their staff into medical responders and firefighters, thus ensuring healthy firefighters are available in an emergency.
The residents of Tellico Village have pulled together to make a difference outside of the community, also. Hundreds of masks have been made and donated to local healthcare facilities, food drives have been organized to benefit the local shelter, and elderly shut-ins are regularly checked on and brought food.
“Where friends become family,” is not just a marketing phrase in Tellico Village – it’s a way of life.
“People are looking out for one another,” said Kuberka. “It’s part of our DNA as a community.”
Harbor Club, located on Lake Oconee in Georgia’s Lake Country, was selected by Southern Living as a “Southern Living Inspired Community” for its gorgeous homes, landscapes, and public spaces, like the Boathouse Marina, that inspires the community to come together.
For those searching for gated communities with golf, Harbor Club is an excellent choice for retirement real estate. In fact, their course was recently ranked the “#4 Best Course You Can Play in Georgia” by Golf Magazine.
As the pandemic emerged, Harbor Club’s first priority was to keep their residents healthy and safe. At the same time, though, they wanted to minimize the disruption to daily life as much as possible, and make sure everyone had an opportunity to get outside and stay active. To this end, they swiftly adopted safety protocols, based on the guidelines provided by the USGA, that would allow for the golf course to remain open and available to the residents.
For instance, the staff at the club has implemented additional sanitizing measures to ensure all carts are completely clean between rounds. In addition, they also encourage members to bring along their own wipes and sanitizers.
To further protect players, the Club has removed all coolers, ball washers and bunker rakes from the course. Inverted cups or cups slightly above the turf are being incorporated so members don’t have to touch the flags. Finally, the Club has asked that all “non-related” golfers maintain safe distances during play.
By proactively putting these safety precautions in place, members at the Harbor Club have been able to stay safe while not missing any tee times.
River Dunes, an award-winning community situated on the crosswaters of the Pimlico Sound, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Neuse River, is clearly one of the best places to retire in Coastal North Carolina. As you can imagine, this popularity keeps the sales team busy with showings and appointments. However, like most, the River Dunes staff had to quickly adjust their policies to fit the new post-pandemic reality.
Utilizing all of the new technology available, the River Dunes sales team has made it possible for people to continue their search for retirement real estate, while also staying safe by maintaining social distance. From virtual tours to online chats and video tours on-demand, sales associates are still able to provide the same personal touch to people exploring their real estate options. Or, for those who decide to make the trip to see the property in-person, sales associates are still available to meet by appointment as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.
To learn more about these communities, or to find out how what’s happening at other communities throughout the Southeast, email us or fill out the form below.