Spring Love Livin’ Here

As hard as it is not to be perpetually in love with Spring, there are always the first mud-licious and puddle friendly days of April,followed closely by splashes of bright sun and bursting buds. It’s a time of renewal and at this cooperative that means, simply stated: a time to reflect on the desirable qualifications of a Board candidate and be prepared to carefully read submitted candidate resumes which will be attached to the ballot you receive, in preparation to vote wisely for the Board of Directors the first week in May.

All “thumbs” and “expert” gardeners are doing the spring prep work required to exact stunning (or iffy) flowers, flora and maybe veggies in those spaces of self-expression created by loving hands to the delight of all.

The harsh weather leaves us grateful for this season with it’s sensory soothing prefect pairing of lingering sunlight and gentle breezes. The co-op dresses up too and greets members and visitors with a fresh beauty that energizes both those who take on the responsibility of leading the corporation to continued fiscal/structural success; and those who are stewards of the earth herein, and committed to the continued “greening of the community” we all share.

*Please see our blog “Desirable Qualities for a Board Member” and vote!

Spring Holliday Park

Spring Holliday Park

Holliday Park Entrance

Beautiful HP

Holliday Park is a unique cooperative. Not only does this non-profit cooperative community have an excellent number of unit styles, seven in all, to choose from, it has an a great mix of members who work in a volunteer capacity and live well together in a mind-set of cooperation and volunteerism, in close proximity.

The units/homes are one and two-story, and have one, two, and three-bedrooms to choose from, and each unit has a private, full basement, entrance and exit. You may have a patio if you wish and space to garden, or not, which is your choice. You may have a location that faces the tranquil nature center, or one of the four large green areas. Perhaps, you’d rather face Spring Valley Drive or Fountain Boulevard directly, or be back by the tennis courts and sub-division neighboring homes. Some members choose to live near a parking lot, or up by the huge and well maintained swimming pool and clubhouse. All of these choices offer differing views and benefits for the member.

The interior design you create and the volunteering you do, is also completely up to you, although you will be invited to join in the social activities, start your own club, if you wish, and you can have a home life that fits your needs and those of the significant people in your life.

It is not unusual for members to share with their family, friends and extended family members their honest assessment of this place with its peaceful environs, safety, and great location along with other attributes, and how beneficial it would be if they too chose the co-op style of housing. With the carrying charges consistently very low and so many amenities, Holliday Park has attracted a number of siblings, cousins, mother-daughter, father-son, and even a few ex-spouse relationships. When housing is this economically priced and well-maintained, people find out.

After you’ve made the choice to be a part of this volunteer mortgage-free community, and to give back to it from your time and talents, as well as enjoying the low costs ; you usually do a number crunch accompanied by a drive-around the circular streets which are bordered by the tranquil nature center on three sides. To do this gives you and overview of the locations which meet your needs.

The Clubhouse pool and picnic area sit at the entrance and people come in on Saturday mornings to get information and an application for membership (thanks to volunteer Saturday Greeters). Applicants ask the BIG Questions such as, what is a cooperative and why is it the #1 housing choice for 2012 and beyond for many singles, nuclear families, one-parent families, retirees and others? How do I become a member and when do I sign up to volunteer.

It is such a joy to tell these future neighbors about the on-site maintenance, the social clubs, volunteer committees, the trips that are offered for a very good price, and so much more. They do move in and they do give back to the co-op in various and wonderful ways. One way that is an off-shoot of their happy living environment, is that they encourage the people they value most highly to join them and us.

For instance, a couple moved into a Fenwick Unit in 1996.Their daughter liked this style of living and also moved into her own Fenwick Unit in another area about 5 years later. Just recently, another daughter has moved in, and chose a Fenwick Unit (a two-story 3 bedroom style), a few blocks from her sister. What fun they are all going to have together! In many ways this family is united again, but each member and their occupants have their own home and personal space.

They are far enough apart to enjoy their privacy, and yet close enough for socializing, and being available to share the clubhouse party room and euchre, dominoes, golfing, tennis, water aerobics and frequent mile-walks or biking around the complex,

A more long standing example of members passing the gift of co-op life to their siblings and other relatives began when the co-operative was in its infancy some forty years ago. One of the brothers in this family moved into Holliday Park and into a Dover Unit. In the meantime, his four siblings were in homes in the surrounding cities where they were raising their children. As the children grew up and left home, the four brothers began to look at Holliday Park as an alternate life style, since they were tired of all the work, high taxes and the other expenses connected with home ownership. Twenty plus years ago, one of the brothers moved into a Fenwick Unit. Eventually, another brother moved into a two bedroom Coventry Unit and later transferred to the large two-bedroom Exeter Unit. A few years later, two of the remaining-non-member brothers chose a Fenwick and a Galloway Unit respectively, to downsize into and eventually enjoy their retirement.

The brothers and their spouses, children and grandchildren too, today, enjoy family gatherings together, and are there to be available in times of sorrow and joy, adventures and holidays too. So, the family stays together, but is able to each have their own individual townhouse unit. This kind of family and extended family shared-but-separate living environment works for those families, and several of their children have also moved in with their kids. Holliday Park is for many people, related or not, contagious in a very good way.

Just before Christmas, we had a brother and sister each take their own Galloway Units. Each one enjoys and pursues different interests and social interaction during leisure hours, but they have a great time together as well. They knew what Holliday Park offers without being told because their parents lived at the co-op very happily and well for many years.

One of Holliday Park’s newer members came to the cooperative because her older sister loves the lifestyle here. Now, a year later, her daughter is interested in getting on the short waiting list, and a niece who is a chief in near by Plymouth, and loves the location and the family factor, has downloaded her application from the web site, and submitted it for review.

When you think of life’s “normal everyday moments“ having family nearby can enhance the quality of your existence in many ways, if you choose to tell them about the happiness factor that exists here within these 694 units.

So, if you are thinking of choosing Holliday Park as an alternate life style to home ownership or condo ownership, think of the benefits that could develop by encouraging other family members to live here in the future, also. It has worked out very well for so many members over the years.

Climate change is now our reality. The warming of the earth and the melting of the glaciers has been and is happening right now. If you saw or heard about Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”, it was a GLOBAL wake-up call. Mr. Gore’s work has become a SILENT BUT URGENT MISSION STATEMENT to every citizen of the world. Action MUST BE TAKEN to reduce our carbon footprint ( CO2 emissions) in every conceivable way, yes each of us, in order to repair our planet. Every person has an obligation to be a good steward their environment in order to sustain life.

The enormous relevance of that documentary, released in 2006, and, supported by the corresponding scientific research it generated, proved that the earth’s accelerated warming can only be stopped and reversed by each person’s conscience choice to make changes.

WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROBLEM, and the compilation of our current and ongoing efforts can and will exact the SOLUTION. Around the globe, people heard and got the message and those who cast doubt have been silenced.

Here at Holliday Park Towne Houses Cooperative, many members had and continue to have a keen interest in the environment. A group of them volunteered their time to clean and preserve the 500 acre nature reserve that adjoins our property. Along with the Board of Directors, members got involved to plant and maintain more sustainable and disease resistant trees, which have flourished. Many members planted and maintain gardens and lovingly tend the soil, plant bushes and ornamental trees, grow herbs and vegetables, rake clippings and volunteer to clean up trash bins, and pick up any refuse they see.

The Board, along with the Property Manager look for every kind of energy star appliances when purchasing appliances, furnaces,and water heaters. Weather stripping, windows with argon gas and steel doors help to keep each unit energy efficient. RIGHT NOW….the cooperative is making a concerted effort to be GREATER THROUGH GREENER ENHANCEMENTS!! What are these enhancements?

Since Michigan has a temperate climate with well defined seasonal changes, we experience everything from extreme cold to hot and humid weather. For this reason, and to cut down on the energy the cooperative uses,“GREEN CELLULOSE INSULATION” will be increased and blown into the attic of each of our 694 units. Two sections of units, those in Lot 7, and 8, one facing EAST and one facing WEST, were used to test the effectiveness of added eco-friendly cellulose ( made from recycled paper products) late this winter.

Insulation is rated as “thermal resistance” to heat flow…known as the R-Value. The larger the R – Value, the greater the ability to prevent the transfer of heat. The coop will improve that value from an R-19 to an R-49 which is a marked increase in the efficiency of the cooperative’s usage of the earth’s valuable energy! MORE “GREEN CELLULOSE INSULATION” is being installed into each unit’s attic in an effort to increase the R-Value………and energy efficiency.

Members in those two buildings noticed an immediate improvement in the dispersed warmed heat of the forced air furnaces that each unit had installed two years ago. All of the units have full basements and five of the unit styles are two-story. Since hot air rises, this addition of insulation keeps this air circulating and it will not escape through the attic. Over time, this added insulation will pay for itself with savings of energy dollars, and more importantly, it will take LESS ENERGY to heat or cool each unit.

On a community level, William Wild, the current Mayor of Westland, Michigan, was and is today, strongly supportive of every environmental issue facing our citizens. He initiated MISSION GREEN in 2007 and has worked diligently to bring together business owners, residents, and the City Council to find ways to use less energy, and be a more sustainable community.

A community garden has been started, Earth Day is celebrated with tree planting, a farmers market is open once a week to make healthy, fresh produce close and available for all. Tree trimming and maintenance, building better eco-friendly parks, running a curbside and drop-off recycling program, implementing systems for keeping rain run-off separated from ground water, and prohibiting the idling of any city vehicles, are just a few of the ways the mayor and city council encourage better use of all resources, a reduction of pollutants and cleaner air for us and future generations.

Holliday Park is just one pro-active community on this planet!! However, the residents herein believe in continuing the process of being GREATER THROUGH GREENER ENHANCEMENTS, and to speak of this activity, to encourage others to do the same.

Once again, co-op life is thriving. The All Thumbs Gardening Contest has stirred members to take up the challenge of creating colorful little sanctuaries, or bursts of interesting textures and combination’s of flowers and foliage around their homes.

Using seeds to grow nasturtiums, calendula, black-eyed susan or cosmos, potted plants filled with petunias, geraniums and impatiens, or just sprucing up last year’s perennials such as foxglove, hydrangeas, peonies, and roses; members are getting creative and enjoying the challenge of making their own personal statement in their outdoor spaces.

One neighbor stacked two different sized terra-cotta pots, one-inside-the other and filled them with marigolds, aztec white verbena, and yellow zinnias. Her neighbor showed her children how to plant an herb garden from seed packets, and they’ve designed their own markers to identify chives, parsley, and mint, as these plantings grow and become future amendments for salads, and tea.

Any kind of planting is eligible to be considered for this years on-going gardening event. Designing a garden is more than just the act of choosing pretty plants. Well maintained shrubs, topiary trees and roses, trellis vines, or rock gardens, hanging potted plants, green and leafy foliage like hostas, ferns, or even succulents such as cactus and silver spikegrass; every type of garden is a potential winner.

The motivating elements for this contest have been in place for many years here at Holliday Park. Most of us love to socialize, and after many cold weather months, it is so much fun to be out and about with our families and neighbors, sharing in activities that challenge us; and so many members garden, in such a multitude of ways, that the idea for this contest just naturally evolved.

The park-like setting that encompasses Holliday Park, affords adequate sun and shade, and rainfall is often very plant-sustaining. These elements assist our gardeners in making low-maintenance arenas for self-expression and beauty, while keeping the “work of these spaces” minimal.

Several members who live in the shadiest area near the tennis courts, are good-naturedly trying to “outdo each other” by growing the tallest dahlias, or longest blooming daisies. Other neighbors have added wind chimes, water features, and elements that move, such as colorful rainbow spinners in every shape you can imagine. Still others are fertilizing climbing clematis and wisteria on trellises, for a big impact of color and vine.

It is often said that a person’s garden is a reflection of their own personal identity. Each of us is unique and it doesn’t matter if we plant a lot or a little, colorful or varying shades and textures in just one hue, or even an “all green” and growing manicured lawn. As long as tender loving care has been taken in an effort to add just a bit of yourself to this amazing space which we affectionately call our home, then you are a gardener! Perhaps your kids and grandkids have joined you to make an expression of your entire family.

Everything we do to enhance our environment, is a gift we give to each other and future generations. It is well known that since the co-op is near the nature preserve, we are all hosts to the ducks, and numerous species of birds, rabbits, frogs, toads, dragonflies, butterflies and more. Our gardening endeavors make a great habitat for these guests and for ourselves.

With so much greenery and color, whether its edible, such as fruits, veggies or berries, or a delight for the eye to behold; everyone wins when gardens abound.

Here at Holliday Park, caring and sharing is everywhere, and now the beauty of the season is being enhanced; not for personal gain, but for self-expression, respect for our homes here, the environs, and to shout out “WELCOME” to new neighbors and visitors, everyday.

Why do I love to live in Holliday Park? This is not a hard question to answer, yet, I hardly know where to start.
Well, let me think.  When my husband and I heard of Holliday Park the first time in 1984, we immediately realized this was a good place to live, but we were not yet ready to give up our home. My husband had a recent heart attack, and we knew that home ownership would become too hard to handle. 

Within a few weeks, a friend who had lived in Holliday Park from its beginning, and had nothing but praise for it, called to let us know that the waiting list was “open” for a few days, which prompted us to turn in an application.  The fact that we were waiting for four years to get called did not bother us; it gave us time to slowly plan our move.
Today I, (my husband passed away a few years ago), am totally happy to have made this move for the following reasons:
     The friends and neighbors we, and now I, have gotten to know over the years, are truly great and always watchful to assist and help, if there is any opportunity.  This, of course, has prompted me to watch out for other’s needs also, giving me the feeling of never being alone; rather, of being part of a close-knit community.
     We, and now I, have always known of the importance of our volunteer program to this mode of living. Participating in the volunteer programs for a long time now, has given me the feeling of being part of a community — doing my share.

Some of the fun things that volunteers do are to provide social activities for us. Volunteers are willing, and find the time, to organize the events for those who wish to take part. Just to mention a few — a Travel Club (offering day trips, as well as longer excursions); card playing groups, as well as dominoes; a Book Club, Movie Night, showing current movies; crafts, and other worthwhile activities. Last, but not least, catered dinners at our beautiful clubhouse for various occasions, e.g. Christmas, Halloween, Volunteer Dinners, and Swimming pool parties, etc.
Another plus factor living in Holliday Park is the fact that we have a full-time maintenance crew under the supervision of our property manager, also a full-time employee. This maintenance crew responds to calls for assistance in home repairs of all sorts, which are spelled out in our “Book of Rules,” made available to every resident.  The crew is exemplary in snow removal, even on weekends, and has been especially effective through this hard winter!
In short, to move into Holliday Park years ago was one of the best decisions my husband and I have made during our lifetime, and I am reaping the benefits to this day!