Whether you're in an urban high-rise or a sprawling suburban condo development, it can be hard for a new resident to get to know their neighbors. Do you strike up a conversation in the elevator or the laundry room, or hang around the bulletin board in the lobby hoping to meet your fellow owners? And what about the residents who aren’t as socially skilled as other, more gregarious residents, yet who want to make friendly connections with the people living next door?
Many communities offer on-site amenities such as a pool, gym, or tennis courts that put folks in contact with their neighbors and help foster a sense of neighborly cohesion, but boards and management can help as well by providing opportunities for residents to socialize with each other. Better inter-resident relations makes for improved community involvement, morale, and overall quality of life.
It's About People
“The way I look at it is condos are just bricks and mortar, and a roof—what really makes it are the people,” says Jim Schneider, general manager of the Seven Lakes Condominium Association in Fort Myers. “You can have a nice condominium but if you don’t have the people you don’t have a good condo association. Community building builds fellowship. It helps people to work with each other and be part of a community. You can’t just isolate yourself and say 'We’re not part of this community. We’re going to close the gates and not worry about anything outside.' That’s no way to live.”
Raymond Pi Lara, president of the Master Association at Riviera Isles, a gated lakefront community of 1,355 estate homes in Miramar agrees. “One of the great things about having people in a close-knit community is that you’re all working towards the same goal,” he says. “We have a clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis court and nice buildings and structures on the property and we all want to keep it nice. A lot of communities we have seen, especially in this economy, are not investing in their infrastructure and they say ‘we’ll fix it when the economy gets better,’ and that’s a mistake. By the time the economy gets better, what will those things look like? And how much will it cost to repair them? At our board meetings we always talk about reinvesting money that we collect from association fees back into the community, whether it’s painting, landscaping, restoring our pool area or maintaining our gym.”
Toy, food and clothing drives during the holidays, conducting local beach clean-ups, a tree lighting ceremony, a Hanukah candle lighting ceremony and free musical performances are just a few of the events that the Seven Lakes Condominium Association hosts annually.