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‘Like a big small town’

Novi community celebrates ten years of active retirement lifestyle

Created date

May 21st, 2013

This month marks Fox Run s tenth anniversary. On June 30, 2003, the Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich., opened its doors to its first residents. On opening day, a staff of 100 people welcomed five residents. Fox Run had just one residence building, Meadowbrook Square, and Sales Counselor Carolyn Ives says construction was not complete on the community s clubhouse. That meant the staff had to improvise. A hospitality suite was created in a larger apartment in Meadowbrook Square as a central, intimate setting where the first residents could gather to meet their new neighbors, socialize, and play games, Ives says. It was a wonderful, cozy environment for our pioneer residents to plant the seeds of how engaging and social life would be here at Fox Run. Barbara Birmingham and her husband Roy moved from Livonia, Mich., to Fox Run on opening day. Barbara recalls fondly their early days at the community when they were getting to know the other so-called pioneer residents in that close-knit setting. They would have movies and popcorn because we didn t have the clubhouse yet, Barbara says. That one apartment turned into Club Med. [The staff served] continental breakfast there every morning, and we could play bridge or just gather to talk.

Fox Run today

Fast-forward to today, and Fox Run is the bustling home to more than 1,000 active retirees. Where there was once just a single residence building, there are now seven. As more residents have moved in, the staff has grown to a dedicated 750 employees. And, of course, construction on that clubhouse has long since been completed. In fact, Fox Run now has two well-appointed clubhouses, which serve as hubs for the community s 150 resident-run clubs and committees. Over the years, Fox Run has become richer in traditions and activities, Sales Director Fred Moschetta says. When people move into our community, they bring different interests and introduce them to their neighbors, and it turns into a new tradition our entire community becomes involved in. As one of the first residents to move in, Barbara, along with fellow pioneer Helen Weingarden, was responsible for founding Fox Run s first clubs, many of which still thrive. Helen, who moved to Fox Run from Farmington Hills, says she and Barbara worked together to build a library, which now holds hundreds of books. The two ladies also started a golf group and entertainment committee. Helen started a popular bridge club, which she still leads. Today, the list of clubs and organizations at Fox Run is well over 100. Helen was the first Jewish resident to move to Fox Run, and as more people moved in, she founded the Shalom group on campus. In 2003, Helen helped host a Seder meal at Passover. Both Jewish and Christian residents were invited, fostering a spirit of interfaith camaraderie that persists today at the Novi community. It s become a Fox Run tradition, Helen says of the annual Seder. Everyone looks forward to it. One day in Fox Run s history that the pioneer residents and staff will never forget is August 14, 2003. That is the day the community held its grand opening celebration. Just before a large crowd of city officials, residents, and prospective community members were scheduled to arrive, the power went out in large sections of the U.S. With the help of backup generators, that are part of Fox Run s infrastructure, the resourceful staff didn t miss a beat. They went on with the program, cut the ribbon, and served refreshments, Barbara says. It was cool inside; it was as if nothing had happened. That day which could have been a disaster went off without a hitch and guests stayed for hours mingling and enjoying the refreshments. Barbara says that is when she knew that the Fox Run staff was a team she could count on no matter what challenges the future would bring. They have never let us down in ten years, Barbara says. It s a great place to live.

A big small town

What s on tap for Fox Run s second decade? Executive Director Michael McCormick says he expects the community to continue to grow and thrive. It s pretty obvious from our success that there is a huge demand for our product, he says. We have a waiting list to move into Fox Run, so I see us adding more apartment homes over the years. McCormick says that no matter how many people move in, he and his team will make sure Fox Run always retains what residents value most: the friendly and supportive neighborhood environment. I am most proud that we ve grown tremendously over the past decade but have kept our small-town feel, McCormick says. Fox Run is a close-knit community where people know one another and care in extraordinary ways. It s like a big small town.