Friday, October 1, 1999
Malcolm Meadows senior housing gets a thumbs-up from residents
Malcolm Meadows, the Senior Residential Open Space Community built by Northwest Structures in 1996-97 on the former Malcolm Land on Stearns Street, appears to be a smashing success, according to the residents interviewed by the Mosquito this past week. With Malcolm Meadows about to turn two years old in October, it seemed an appropriate time to talk to some of its residents and learn more about this new concept for senior housing here in Carlisle.
To backtrack a bit with a few more details on how this development came about, let me start with Allan Lloyd Malcolm who died in 1992, bequeathing his 38 acres of land on Stearns Street to the Carlisle Congregational Church. With a lot of hard work and a great deal of imagination on the part of many individuals and organizations, including the Congregational Church, the Carlisle Conservation Commission, the Carlisle Conservation Foundation, the Trustees of Reservations, and the Senior Housing Options Committee, the town was able to purchase the land from the church for MALCOLM continued from page 1
conservation purposes, with a senior housing unit to be built on four acres.
Built under Carlisle Zoning Bylaw 5.7, each of the 12 units has 1,400 square feet of living space on two floors, with a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a loft, a garage, a cellar and a porch. There are three different models, all of which have about the same space, in five buildings. Grounds and common facilities are managed by the Malcolm Meadows Condominium Association. At present all units are filled. There is an age limit, directed by the bylaw, that at least one resident must be at least 62 years old. At present there are five couples and seven singles occupying units at Malcolm Meadows.
All of the residents of Malcolm Meadows that I spoke with were more than happy with their new living arrangements. There is still a little grumbling about the landscaping that the developer left the association to deal with, but the drainage problem seems to be resolved and, on the whole, this new Carlisle community is more than thriving.
On an especially beautiful fall Sunday afternoon, I stopped by to talk to Ruth and Bill Reeder. It had been a busy weekend for the couple who had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their children the night before, at The Wayside Inn in Sudbury. Bill Reeder is president of the Malcolm Meadows Condominium Association so this seemed like the place I should begin.
Like many others living in this new senior citizen community, the Reeders had previously lived in Carlislefor 37 years, in fact. They moved from a house on Meadowbrook Road, where they had brought up their three children, all of whom have settled with their own families in New England.
"This is a community of good neighbors," Bill was eager to tell me. "These are very congenial people, most of whom have a Carlisle connection," continued Ruth. The Reeders, both retired, were tired of taking care of a house and yard and had been looking at condos throughout the area for a while. "We wanted to stay in Carlisle and could have lived in our house for a few more years, but this came along, so here we are," said Ruth. "This is a unique community. We had never seen one like it. The designs are a plus, and you still feel like you have your own little house." she added. Looking toward the window, Ruth pointed to one of the features she values most in her new homethe open space and skies, to say nothing of the sunset and stars that come out at night. Bill explained that there is a garage, sometimes two, between each unit which contributes to this feeling of having your own separate home. I was led on a tour of the house which impressed me with its spaciousness, interesting layout and location between Stearns Street and beautiful conservation land.
Although the Reeders are still connected to their old neighborhood, to their church, and COA activities, they believe they have found a different kind of community at Malcolm Meadows.
Dick and Sylvia Brandhorst live at Malcolm Meadows from May until the end of September, with time out for weekends and other lengthy periods away at their children's summer place on Squam Lake. Most of their married life was spent on Russell Street until 14 years ago, when they moved to Ormand Beach, Florida for the winter. They sold their Russell Street house to their younger son Eric and moved to Malcolm Meadows in the summer of 1998.
"We are very happy with this arrangement and with Malcolm Meadows, now that it has worked out its landscaping problem" Dick Brandhorst told me. "We are still in the town where we spent all our married life. We come back at Christmastime for a couple of weeks to be near our children who aren't too far away. It works out great." "A big plus," he continued, "is all the worries of the house are now on Eric's shoulders."
The Brandhorsts have enjoyed getting to know their new neighbors, as well as being reacquainted with old friends, the Reeders and Nancy Rockstrom.
"We like the location, looking out on conservation land and the trails. It's terrific to know no one will build on it," said Dick. "And the birds I'm feeding more birds now than I ever fed in my whole life. It's fun."
In October, Roz Merrill will have lived at Malcolm Meadows for two years. She was the third person to move into a unit. For the previous 34 years, she had lived in a house on Bingham Road.
"I had lived alone for 20 years and it was my children who encouraged me to move here," said Merrill. "I had been looking around."
So what is it that Merrill likes about Malcolm Meadows? "I like the people and that I am still able to live in Carlisle," she answered. "And, I can walk to Kimball's Ice Cream Stand," she added with a laugh.
Merrill has also taken advantage of Two Rod Road and walking down Stearns Street to Rodgers Road, without having to worry about the traffic. She has gotten to know more people now that she has retired, and has found Malcolm Meadows to be a very friendly place. She takes part in COA activities, and has always found a neighbor willing to give her a ride.
"I like the layout of the apartment very much. The basement is a real plus and the loft upstairs and the kitchen are great," she explained. She also enjoys the view from her deck of fields and conservation land. Living at Malcolm Meadows has been a very positive experience for Merrill.
Nancy Rockstrom moved to Malcolm Meadows just over a year ago, after having lived on School Street for 25 years. She was Director of Human Services at Eunice Shriver Center in Waltham until she retired in 1995. Her husband had died in 1986. When her son and his family who had lived with her for four years moved out, she realized the house was much too big for her, and too much of a challenge to keep up. It was at about this time that she saw Malcolm Meadows and realized it was the place for her. "It was almost in my backyard," said Rockstrom, whose house looked out across Poole's Swamp to Woodridge and Baldwin Roads.
"This has been a very pleasurable experience...I couldn't ask for a nicer place to live. "It is quiet, private, neighbors are wonderful and I love it here," she added. "I wanted to stay here in Carlisle, around my familiar haunts. I have plenty of room; the kitchen is smaller but adequate, and there is a full basement. Stearns Street is a nice country road and people don't drive too fast. The conservation trails are marvelous; there are lots of birds and it's a great place to enjoy your grandchildren.
Skip and Birgitta Knuttgen had not lived in Carlisle, but had lived in the Boston area, specifically Concord and Wayland, for 28 years. Their daughters Annika and Helena are graduates of CCHS. Both Knuttgens, recently retired from Penn State University, returned to this area two years ago, looking for a place to live in the Concord area. When Kim Comeau of Senkler Associates, a former classmate of their daughter Helena, brought them to Malcolm Meadows they liked the low-key, relatively undeveloped and business-free attractiveness of Carlisle, and they liked Malcolm Meadows. "We wanted to scale down in size, have the grounds taken care of collectively, and the conservation land trails were appealing to my long-time interest in running and mountain biking," said Skip. "When we lived in Wayland and Concord, we lived near conservation land," he added.
"Malcolm Meadows is everything we hoped for," continued Skip. "The neighbors we acquired are friendly and interesting and I don't even mind the commute into Boston." Skip Knuttgen, a professor emeritus from Penn State where he was director of the Center for Sports Medicine and professor of Applied Physiology, now takes the train several times a week from Concord to North Station, and walks just 200 steps to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center where he has an appointment in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of Harvard Medical School. He also does a lot of traveling for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as a member of its medical commission. He will be traveling to Sydney, Australia to attend the IOC congress next month.
Birgitta Knuttgen has become active in the Concord Players as a performer and was the co-producer last year of the musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."
"Malcolm Meadows is a real community, your neighbors are there if you need them and its a very comfortable environment," said Skip with absolute conviction.
Russell Perry is the latest addition to the association, having moved in last April. In a brief interview after playing telephone tag for several days, Perry was eager to express his pleasure with his new living arrangement.
"This really is the ideal place for where I am in my life today," explained Perry.. "It is awfully well designed and very comfortable." Perry found it hard to leave his 11-room home on Sunset Road where he had lived for 36 years with his wife and family. "There were lots of memories embedded in that house and leaving them behind wasn't easy," added Perry.
The Malcolm Meadows Condominium Association has an annual meeting once a year in September, but will meet at other times if there is a problem. It is responsible for grounds maintenance, snowplowing and looking into other problems should they arise. Officers of the association include Bill Reeder, Skip Knuttgen and Nancy Rockstrom.
Other residents of Malcolm Meadows who were not interviewed for this article include Ray Borden, Marion Chapman, Mary and Roy Green, Albie and Leonora Jarvis, Laura Jehling and Ruth Saslaw.
If there was any question whether the Malcolm Meadows Senior Residential Open Space Community was a success, one only has to read these words of praise from it's residents.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito