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Friendship Park offers opportunities to enjoy the outdoors

New venue part of a larger modernization project at Oak Crest

Created date

April 18th, 2018
Friendship Park, Oak Crest’s new outdoor venue, features two bocce courts, three putting greens, a walking trail, and seating area with fountain.

Friendship Park, Oak Crest’s new outdoor venue, features two bocce courts, three putting greens, a walking trail, and seating area with fountain.

No matter what month of the year, Oak Crest is always abuzz with activity thanks to its ingenious weatherproof design granting on-the-go residents access to the entire campus without ever going outside.

But now that spring is here, another world has come to life as golfers, gardeners, and outdoor enthusiasts of every kind head back outside.

“Having the ability to stay active and socially engaged regardless of the weather is a huge advantage to living at Oak Crest,” says Jim Antonakos, director of sales. “Our under-one-roof design allows community members to go about their busy schedules during the cold winter months. But when the weather is nice, the outdoors offers even more opportunities.”

Thanks to Oak Crest’s new Friendship Park, enjoying the outdoors at the 87-acre community is better than ever. The new venue features three putting greens, two lighted bocce courts, a walking trail, and an exercise court open to residents, family members, and employees. A gazebo and fountain add to the ambience of the park.

“It’s a very nice setting,” says community member Polly Carroll. “I like the covered sitting area, the fountain, and the winding trail. From time to time people have their coffee and breakfast out there. I’ve played bocce under the lights and that was nice.”

New look, new amenities

The completion of Friendship Park was part of a larger $30 million-dollar repositioning project to modernize the Oak Crest campus and meet the needs of the active people who live there, plus attract the next generation of retirees.

The project included the opening of an expanded, state-of-the-art fitness center and new indoor heated swimming pool, a hair salon, library, and classroom, as well as an indoor bistro and alfresco dining.

More than 8,000 trees, shrubs, and flowers will also be planted, a key component of the green design.

“Friendship Park radiates a beautiful first impression for those who visit our community,” says Mark Roussey, executive director. “From morning to evening, it has quickly become a hub of socialization, wellness, and even friendly competition.

“I would like to thank the residents of Oak Crest for their participation in the design process,” he adds. “Their preferences mattered, from the access points and amenities to even the name. Our team took their ideas to heart, and, because of this collaboration, we are confident the park will be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Carol Ann Ruth moved to Oak Crest in 2013 from her home in Rosedale, Maryland. She and her partner John enjoy using the new putting greens and bocce courts.

“There are times we will just take a walk through Friendship Park and have friends challenge us to a game of bocce. It’s really quite attractive and nice,” says Carol Ann.

In addition to Friendship Park, Oak Crest also features other outdoor opportunities such as eighty 10- by 10-foot gardening plots, and six 7- by 7-foot raised planter beds where residents can grow everything from strawberries to roses.

Lake Victoria, Oak Crest’s one-acre manmade lake features a deck and gazebo for fishing and feeding the ducks. A wide variety of wildlife is also attracted to the lake, including deer, squirrels, foxes, geese, ducks, hawks, bluebirds, and woodpeckers.

According to Antonakos, it’s the unique blend of a country setting along with the conveniences of a metropolitan environment that sets Oak Crest apart from other retirement communities.

“When you are here on the campus, it’s easy to forget you’re just a few miles away from the area’s best shopping, dining, golf courses, parks, and outdoor recreation,” he says.

Since Oak Crest opened its doors in 1985, the Erickson Living community located in Parkville, Md., has grown to more than 2,100 residents, served by 1,250 full- and part-time employees.

The college-like campus features five restaurants, an on-site medical center and pharmacy, bank, library, computer lab, creative arts studio, woodwork and hobby shop, and greenhouse.