In a letter to the Editor (“Reader offers reason for dissatisfaction,” Sun City West Independent, Oct. 7, 2020), Laura Krause, a 60-year-old resident of Sun City West, told General Manager Bill Schwind the community was uninviting for the younger generation, and the facilities felt antiquated.
In the following newspaper issue, there were several responses to the comments that suggested she pack up and move. I was appalled by those suggestions and that is why I’m writing today. That is the cavalier attitude that Laura was addressing and if we don’t address it as a community by adopting policies and creating facilities that appeal to the youth, the grandeur of Sun City West will soon fade away.
The average age in Sun City West is close to 80 years old. Within the next 10 years, most of the residents of Sun City West are going to be dead, and their homes are going to be sold and the assets are going to be passed to the next generation. The big question is will that next generation reinvest in Sun City West, or take their money elsewhere?
There are many newer communities that do a great job of competing with the active adult lifestyle offered by Sun City West. Property value is the appeal of the location for the purpose intended. So, if you want to maintain a desirable retirement community that attracts the investment of the newly retired, you need to address the concerns of potential buyers.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused closure of our facilities to visitors. This is absolutely the wrong policy to have if you want to attract young, healthy, active buyers. Why would someone like that want to invest in a community that lives in fear, that shuts out their friends to the activities they commonly share? There is no state mandate to do that, it is simply a dictate of the general manager. I think Mr. Schwind stepped beyond his authority with the “no guest” policy (a change in the original policy needs to be approved by the Board of Directors), Ironic considering more than half the employees of Recreation Centers of Sun City West are not members of our community.
Bottom line is that we need a clear vision to reinvent a youthful community and a management team that supports that vision. There is one thing that can be done right now, that costs nothing and makes a huge statement to the next generation of buyers. We need to let the world know we’re open for business as usual (within the guidelines set by the state) and once again open our facilities to visitors. It’s good for our property values!
Sun City West