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Tracing their footsteps, building new paths

Eagle’s Trace celebrates tenth anniversary

Created date

November 23rd, 2015
Residents and staff of Eagle’s Trace form a number 10
Residents and staff of Eagle’s Trace form a no. 10

Eagle’s Trace, the Erickson Living community in West Houston, recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with a weeklong, circus-style celebration.

Residents and staff gathered “under the big top” to relive a decade of memories and to look toward the future.

“This is a community of people sharing their talents, interests, and thoughtful support of each other,” says Stephen Aigner, executive director at Eagle’s Trace. “As we trace the community’s journey from a 70-acre plot of land to the thriving small-town atmosphere we enjoy today, it’s clear why this has become home for so many.”

Pioneers recall early days

Eagle’s Trace opened its doors in October 2005. Today, the community is home to more than 580 residents, including 93 pioneers who were among the first to move in.

Bob Holter and his wife Gail first learned of Eagle’s Trace when they began receiving the Tribune in 2004. 

“We liked the idea of a maintenance-free lifestyle and decided to join the priority list to reserve our place in line for an apartment,” says Bob. “We were number 23 on the priority list.”

Bob and Gail moved to Eagle’s Trace shortly after it opened. Like other pioneers, they jumped into life at the community. They began coordinating weekly movie nights, they served as ambassadors for Eagle’s Trace, and Bob joined the Resident Advisory Council.

“The decision to move to Eagle’s Trace was the best decision we could have made,” says Bob.

Donna Schlitt was still reeling from events of 2005 when she made the decision to move to Eagle’s Trace. Her husband passed away a few weeks before Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August 2005. 

“The thing I remember most [about Katrina] is the fear and indecision about whether to evacuate or whether to shelter in place,” says Donna. “It was such a contrast to Hurricane Ike in 2008, when I knew I was safe and secure at Eagle’s Trace.”

Donna fills her days with volunteer work in the Treasure Chest, the community’s on-site resale shop. She’s also a founding member of the walking club.

“I am truly happy,” she says. “I never dreamed I’d be this happy at this stage of my life.”

Celebration under the big top

Residents’ joy was on display at the anniversary week’s culminating event, a circus-themed celebration for residents and staff and their families.

An enticing array of carnival fare—sausage on a stick, roasted ears of corn, funnel cakes, and cotton candy—allowed residents and their guests to refuel between activities, which included camel rides, a dunk tank, a photo booth, and a fortune teller.

Inside the Audubon Clubhouse, the community’s artists hosted an exhibit of their paintings, sketches, carvings, and photographs.

“We had 34 different artists represented,” says Lil Arnold, who served on the art committee that organized the exhibit. “The only requirement to submit a piece of work was that it had to be done [after] the resident moved to Eagle’s Trace.”

‘Bright future ahead’

One wall of the Audubon Clubhouse offered a glimpse into the community’s future. Resident woodworkers crafted a long panel to resemble a circus tent featuring images of the community’s newest residence building, Amarillo Terrace, now under construction and scheduled to open in fall 2016.

“We have a new building on the horizon,” says Donna Craig, another pioneer resident. “There’s a bright future ahead.”

Donna is a founding member of the library committee and the Stargazers Club. She’s one of six residents who have worked in the library since its inception.

“The word ‘home’ means different things to different people, but it generally means security, safety, and being surrounded by people who care about you,” she says. “I am exceedingly grateful to call Eagle’s Trace home.”