First gated community is here

August 04, 1997


Staff Writer

About 100 people looking for social security in the form of Hagerstown's first gated community spent Sunday afternoon visiting the construction site.

"This is a pre-grand opening event so people can see the concept of a gated community," said director of sales Tammie Bennett.

Four of the 172 one-story villas at Summerland Manor have been built. Eventually, the 27-acre area will be surrounded by a 1.38 mile, 6-foot tall red brick wall with a security gate attended by a guard.


About 200 people attended the two-day event, Bennett said.

The team of developer-builders David Rider, 47, and David Lyles, 28, have 30 years of experience between them and their projects include St. James Village, Morningside Heights and North Gate Townehomes.

"We are completing Phase One. We will be blacktopping in the next seven to 10 days," said Lyles.

The four units open Sunday will be fully decorated by September, he said, and by then, three units will be for sale.

Summerland Manor is in the city limits on Security Road between Eastern and Pangborn boulevards.

"We anticipate that one-half the residents will be retired and one-half will still work - an active adult community," said Robin Mazzacane, director of marketing. "It will look like West Irvin Heights - by the same builders bringing quality communities to Washington County."

Frank P. Erck III, mortgage loan officer at Home Federal's downtown branch, talked to people about their options as local broadcast personality Lou Scally held mini-interviews for a live radio show.

"Seniors especially have equity tied up in their house. They are looking for a deal where they can get equity out of their house while it is on the market. They don't want to wait. Because we are locally owned, we can do some special things for them," Erck said.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II also made the rounds up the dusty road to the models.

"It is definitely a feather in our cap, providing security and affordability," Bruchey said.

The homes will be priced in the $119,000 to $134,000 range.

The mayor described a similar community in Salisbury, Md.

"People there went to Florida in the winter, and they left secure that their property would be fine." That complex didn't have a wall and guarded gate, he said, and praised Summerland's added protection.

Hagerstown residents Harold and Millie Bitner, a couple in their 60s, said they saw gated communities while in Hilton Head, S.C.

"You couldn't get in or out unless a number was assigned to you," said Millie Bitner.

In addition to low property maintenance, Harold Bitner said, "I suppose we are always looking for peace of mind."

Many visitors said they wanted to see a finished home.

Frank and Marian Hartman came to compare the price and home sizes. Both are 75, live near Smithsburg and plan to move to Quincy, Pa., three miles north of Waynesboro, Pa.

Although they would hesitate to buy a home within city limits, they said they thought the location was good.

"It's close to town, and quiet, from what we saw today," Marian Hartman said.

"I heard about this on the radio," said Lou Scally fan Bette Bliss, 76, of Williamsport. "It sounded very secure for people who don't like people wandering around."

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