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50th Anniversary of Move-in at Westmount Village Garners One Year of Free Rent
WOODLAND PARK, N.J., July 19, 2022 — Garden Communities celebrated Diana Lacey as its newest Golden Resident at a surprise ceremony at Westmount Village in Woodland Park. The Golden Resident program honors individuals who have occupied their apartments for 50 or more years; members of this special club get more than just congratulations for their loyalty – they also receive a year of living rent-free.
Lacey notes the community’s property management team members have made it an easy choice for her to remain at her Passaic County apartment for five decades. “They’re always there when I need them,” she said.
Little wonder, then, that when she saw the team smiling broadly at her award ceremony it gave her great joy. “They called me a week before and asked to meet me at the leasing office – they said they had a little gift to give me for living here 50 years,” she noted. “You could tell from their eyes that they were all just happy for me. We all hugged and kissed. It made my day.”
Members of Garden Communities’ corporate and Woodland Park’s operational teams were among the attendees at the celebration. Lacey – who marks the ninth member of the Golden Resident club, which was established in 2020 – was presented with flowers and a customized giant check during a formal ceremony, followed by refreshments.
“We are delighted to recognize the long-term residents who are the core of our apartment properties,” said Dave Platt, property manager. “That’s what this program is all about – saying ‘thank you’ to individuals who have planted roots and helped to create an enduring sense of community. They take as much pride in our developments as we do.”
Lacey, a former publicist and public relations consultant, said she didn’t know what to expect when she entered the office, but she thought it was nice that they wanted to acknowledge her loyalty. “They know I am happy here,” she said.
The Golden Resident ran her public relations business from her home at Westmount Village for 35 years. “All I needed was a phone, a typewriter, and a press list and I could go anywhere,” she said. Born in Union, she lived for several years in New York City, where she worked for Conde Nast. She came to Westmount Village from East Orange. “I got friendly with a set designer in Montclair who lived here,” she added. “When I visited her apartment, I sat on the terrace and knew I wanted to live here too.”
Lacey describes her community as a wondrous place, where she can experience nature up close. She chose her specific apartment because a large rock stands right outside her terrace window and notes that she still admires the view. “I knew I had found my forever home,” she said. “It’s a privilege to live here.”
Living in Woodland Park
Lacey recalled that 50 years ago, there were no banks or stores in the immediate area. “Now we have banks, a shopping center, churches, and a library,” she reflected. “Then we had only a general store.”
But it was the people who made Woodland Park special. “It was like a little New York, very diversified,” she said. “I wanted to live with a variety of people. And there were many interesting people —and everyone left their doors open.” Among others, those people included the first female underwater welder, who wrote a book and appeared on the Johnny Carson show, and a French chef who was slated to be President Kennedy’s pastry chef but sadly was allergic to sugar.
The longtime resident continues to recommend her community to others. “The air is still cleaner than anywhere else, because of the elevation and the trees,” she said. “We have deer, wild turkeys, even a fox. I sit here and look out at nature. It’s like Disneyland.”
Short Hills-based Garden Communities is a leading New Jersey-based real estate owner, builder, and operator in the multifamily niche. In addition to its many long-time communities, the firm’s robust project pipeline will introduce dozens of new developments in the tri-state area over the next several years. With vertically integrated operations providing full in-house support from site acquisition, to leasing and property management from infancy to stabilization, Garden Communities’ continual, thoughtful evolution involves providing fresh, next-generation inventory while constantly improving existing rental properties to serve demand and support changing lifestyle needs.
PHOTO CAPTION: (L-R) Garden Communities’ Steve Aggeldis and Jonathan Goetz; golden resident Diana Lacey; and Garden Communities’ Janet Serio, Johnny Ortiz, Dave Platt and Bob Schopperth
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