And while those factors attract people to Brentwood’s four Summerset developments, once they’ve moved in to the active-adult communities, it’s the people they find there that makes them glad they did.
“Bottom line: it’s the community,” said Diane McClain, activities director at Summerset II. “They’re friends and neighbors that look out for each other, and they get closer the longer they live here.”
The first of Summerset I’s 471 homes were built in 1994, at what was once Brentwood’s remote western boundary. By the time the last of Summerset Orchards’ 647 homes were finished, more than 2,000 had been built for seniors 55 and older – people simply not ready to slow down.
“The development of Summerset was significant for Brentwood in a lot of ways,” said Bill Hill, Brentwood’s mayor at the time Summerset was approved. It brought to the city thousands of mature residents with disposable income, which in turn fueled a need for more landscapers, golf cart companies, medical equipment providers and doctors. Since Summersetters had no school-age children, schools benefited from development fees without an increase in student populations, and helped Brentwood provide a kind of housing lacking at the time.
Each of the four subdivisions – which also include Summerset Palms (440 houses) and Summerset Vista (464) – operates its own homeowners association and community center, and employs its own recreation director. Each runs a jam-packed activity schedule including golf (The Golf Club at Brentwood’s championship course meanders through the developments), exercise classes, bocce leagues and social gatherings. The charitable Summerset Kare Bears provide one way for residents to volunteer, and you can count on one of the city’s highest voter turnouts whenever election time comes around.
“Everyone is close to the same age,” said Pruitt. “They have similar interests and backgrounds, like the same music and have the same energy and activity level.”
Residents also share the same health problems associated with growing older, a factor Summerset I’s Diane McClain believes brings neighbors closer. Unlike at other locations, she said, everyone knows their neighbors, and if someone hasn’t been seen out and about, there’s sure to be someone knocking on the door doing a welfare check. The Brentwood police have recently conducted a program called Triad, which teaches seniors how to protect themselves from scam artists.
Houses at Summerset range from 1,200 to 2,500 square feet. Designed for low-maintenance, the houses feature open floor plans and amenities such as fireplaces, hardwood floors and attached garages with driveways for visitor parking. Each community is gated, and its former edge-of-town location is now bustling with shopping centers, restaurants, parks and a pair of nearby hospitals (John Muir Medical Center in Brentwood and Kaiser Hospital in Antioch).
So whether it’s lots of activities, low-maintenance homes, socializing or simply a beautiful, quiet and well-kept neighborhood, Summerset communities offer what many of today’s active seniors are looking for. Throw in the benefits of thousands of neighbors who enjoy the same things, and it’s a perfect fit for many.
“I can’t tell you,” said McClain, “how many people say, ‘Moving here was the best decision I ever made.’”