6008 Lake Cove Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32221
Cecil Pines, a Tranquil 55+ Community on the Grounds of an Old Air Base, Has Rental Homes, a Rural Quality and Friendly Residents
The quiet, friendly 55+ community of Cecil Pines is the brainchild of the company Front Porch and its philanthropic partner, California Lutheran Homes Foundation. Located on the former Cecil Naval Air Field in Jacksonville, residents occupy the former single family homes and duplex homes of military personnel.
The residences date from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and have an ample one level floor plan with a patio, a full kitchen, washer/dryer hookups, and a carport. Each property has from 1,200 square feet to 1,500 square feet of living space. Stainless steel appliance upgrades are available for a nominal fee. Exteriors are pinkish/tan with a brick wall in front to ensure privacy. Tall pine trees, oaks with dripping moss grace and few sidewalks give Cecil Pines a rural quality.
Monthly costs range from $1,285 for a two bedroom duplex to $1,525 for a three bedroom single family home. Interior and exterior maintenance, yard work, and an in-home emergency response system (fire, police and medical) are covered in this cost.
Cecil Pines is gated and has a community center with a gym and kitchen. Neighbors meet for hobby nights, bingo, cards, cultural events, outings, and classes. Walkers can explore quiet country roads through and around the base. If a non-refundable fee is paid, pets are welcome.
The nearby Cecil Gym and Fitness includes two indoor pools, cardio equipment, racquetball courts, saunas, and showers.
Jacksonville's POW/MIA Memorial Park has 26 green acres, a museum, and the Chapel of the High Speed Pass. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center sponsors a show series and open schooling days. Paddocks are available for rent. The Riverside Arts Market, 450 city parks, an arboretum, the Kingsley Plantation, a Riverwalk and more keep locals active and engaged.
The city also has several accredited hospitals, including a Mayo Clinic.
Summers and early fall are hot and rainy with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Late fall and winter are generally dry and sunny with temperatures in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Visit cecilpines.org for more information.
Sticking out into Hurricane Alley, Florida was a land no nation seemed to want. Ruled successively by Spain, France, England, and the Confederate States of America, the state had a backwater reputation. Other than St. Augustine and Pensacola, there were few cities. The area was rural and populated by frontier farmers.
In the late-1800s, changes came when railroads began chugging down both coasts. Industrialist Henry Flagler's Florida Easy Coast Railway even made it all the way to Key West. The Great Florida Land Boom, the build-up to World War II, and the space industry also helped turn Florida into one of the nation's most populous states. In 1900, there were about 500,000 residents. Today, there are more than 20 million, almost 351 people per square mile.
Why do people keep coming? Tourism marketing is one reason. Annually, millions visit Orlando's theme parks and the state's 663 miles of white sand beaches. Taxes generated by the billion dollar vacation industry allow Florida to prosper without a personal income tax. Budget-sensitive retirees have flocked to its cities and shorelines.
If you can ignore the hurricanes, the state's climate is relatively mild. Only five other states are sunnier. Florida's system of state universities and community colleges is sizable, and its big cities are meccas for culture and the arts. Sarasota is a good example. Its Ringling Museum Complex contains internationally known art museum, a circus museum, an historic theater, and a 66-acre garden. Museums near Orlando range from a Zora Neale Hurston gallery to a Madame Tussauds.
The concept of living in an active adult community started in the 1950s and 1960s. The first 55+ community was in Youngtown, Arizona and opened in 1954 (it removed its age restriction in 1999). Del Webb's Sun City, also in Arizona, opened in 1960 and is the longest-running 55+ community in the U.S. DelWebb is still building 55+ developments today.
Other builders, catching on to the baby boomer retirement wave, have also been building 55+ communities. Today the largest 55+ community is The Villages in central Florida. It has three zip codes, nearly 60,000 homes, 120,000 residents and sprawls across 200,000 acres.
People are drawn to these communities because most residents are of the same socioeconomic background. They share a common history and outlook. It is easy to make new friends and find a sense of community. And 55+ community amenities, particularly in newer developments, are especially appealing. They often rival resort amenities (and can be what drive costs up). Aside from summer camp or an all-inclusive resort, where can you find golf courses, marinas, planned activities, fitness centers and much more, all for one price?
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