Residents urged to vote on pool, directors at annual meeting

What percentage of Lake Monticello’s population is over 65 and what percentage is below? Ask any five Lake residents and you’ll likely come away with five different answers.

Lake Monticello has traditionally been marketed as a gated haven for retirees and weekenders that is focused around amenities like golf and fishing.

Plus, said General Manager Catherine Neelley in an email, “The bulk of our volunteers are primarily retirees.” This includes the Board of Directors and members of the 15 standing committees governing the community.

This often leads to the sense that Lake Monticello is an older community into which younger people have moved in recent years, and that the number of retirees is consequently dropping.   

Yet a survey of U.S. Census records going back to 1990 shows that percentage of residents over the age of 65 has actually grown – not shrunk – over the past 27 years.

While data is not available for the first 16 years of the development, in 1990 the community became a “census-designated place,” with demographics compiled specifically on Lake Monticello. Lake Monticello does not compile its own demographic statistics.

That year, only 15.6 percent of Lake residents were 65 or over. By 2000, the figure had climbed to 18.2 percent. Today it’s 20.56 percent.

If it seems like there are more young families around today, it’s probably because the community has grown so much larger in the past 30 years. In 1990 census-takers tallied only 2,448 permanent residents; today the population is estimated at 9,920.

Many residents say the mixed nature of the community is one of its chief benefits.

“One of the many things I love about living at the Lake is the wonderful diversity of our community,” said Tony O’Brien, Fluvanna County supervisor of the Lake’s Rivanna District.
Barbara O’Brien (no relation to Tony O’Brien) moved to the Lake about three years ago. “I thought it would be easier here, where so many others were also retired and there were so many open activities to just join in,” she said.

“I live in a neighborhood with several households with young kids and I just love watching them play and grow up,” she said. “They come by my house when I’m gardening to check out what I’m doing and I enjoy watching them play in our cul-du- sac. I have no regrets about moving here.” 

Others say it can sometimes be difficult for neighbors to reach across the divide.

Maggie Eckman moved to the Lake six years ago, in part because she didn’t want to live in an exclusively 55-and-older community. She said she’s found something of a challenge in trying to connect with younger families. “The only place we seem to have in common is the pool when our grandchildren visit,” she said.

“There’s a big disconnect between the retirees and the younger generation,” said resident Mike Kolczynski.

He believes the Lake could benefit from a recreation department “scheduling kids and teen events, adult parties, trips for kids and adults,” and other things that might regularly bring the communities together.

The focus of so much intergenerational summer fun, the community pool, is the big item on this year’s ballot. Residents will have the opportunity to vote on a proposal to create a $900,000 fund to replace the aging facility by levying a one-time $100 assessment per household and withdrawing up to $436,000 from the Emergency Reserve Account.

Rich Barringer, Tom Braithwaite, and Bing Spitler are all running unopposed for reelection to their seats on the Board of Directors.

Any member who didn’t have the opportunity to vote online or by mail-in ballot by the deadline can vote in person at the Fairway Clubhouse Saturday (June 24) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.