Gramercy Park Cooperative: the perfect choice for active seniors


Mike Peplinksi, Diane Peplinksi and Judy Anaya enjoy one of the common spaces at Gramercy Park.

Don Bauer uses the fitness center.

Part of the library, one of numerous amenities, at Gramercy Park.

Members create a real community and take pride in where they live

 

It’s easy to tell when a person has pride in where they live. They will be eager to show it off and tell you all about it. At Gramercy Park Cooperative, that pride is seen in every resident.

The 111-unit independent living community in Inver Grove Heights is a unique setup for folks ages 55 and older. Prices are shockingly reasonable, especially considering the beauty and comfort of the community. The costs are kept in check by Gramercy’s co-op structure.

“That’s part of being a co-op — we have several committees, and people who live here make up the committees. It’s the members here who make the decisions and do a lot of the work. It saves money, and that’s why we can offer shares at such a good price,” says Lorene Dimock, a resident and chair of the marketing committee. “Whatever you’re good at and interested in, you have an opportunity to do it.”

Being a co-op is not just a cost-saving measure, though. It is a community-creating force. Members’ participation and leadership is felt in all aspects of life at Gramercy — in the decorating, social events, marketing and more — keeping them making new friends and staying active.

“At some point, they’re gonna get you on a committee!” says member Susan Raiter with a laugh. “Almost everyone is on a committee.”

“We have a social committee that puts on many activities,” says member Diane Peplinksi. “We had a Super Bowl party, and a New Year’s party, Christmas and Thanksgiving parties ... you can still party with friends without going outside into the 30 below.”

There doesn’t have to be a special event for members to socialize with each other. Anyone taking a stroll around Gramercy will see members at work on a jigsaw puzzle together, sharing a coffee hour with snacks or catching up around a fire.

“In the evenings, there’s usually several people visiting around the central fireplace,” member Judy Wickman says.

“We have happy hours,” member Tom Tourville adds — they’re bring-your-own-bottle style.

Many residents are Minnesota natives, but those not from the immediate area have found Gramercy to be the perfect place to build new community.

“We came from Wisconsin, so we didn’t know anyone around here, and we found instant friends,” says Judy.

The interactive nature of living at Gramercy is perhaps what residents cherish most, but another big factor in their high quality of life is visual. Its location in Inver Grove Heights is far enough away from the city center to let wildlife flourish.

“We have a nice wooded area right across the street,” member Mike Peplinksi says. “To the east, there’s a large space that we own, so there won’t be any development going in there. We got a grant to do a ‘prairie restoration’ from the county.”

Constantly changing decor — planned by residents, of course — is another lovely plus at Gramercy.

“When we took the tour, we noticed the decorations,” Mike says. “We toured other locations where the walls were bare. It felt kind of sterile. The decorations here are changed according to the season.”

The list of perks goes on, with enviable features like quick, on-site maintenance, a fitness center, a library and underground parking, making it all the more obvious why Gramercy member-residents take pride in and love where they live.


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