Resident managers take reins at Country Estates

The manufactured housing community offers people 55 and older a place to live, things to do.

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Country Estates, a 55 and older Manufactured Housing Community in College Place, has new resident managers. The new team, Lee and Pat Ainley, have lived there since 2005 and love it. They kicked off their new management with a festive barbecue celebration they hope to make an annual event.

The September barbecue drew about 100 people, Lee Ainley said, "It was a wonderful success, with lots of dancing and the weather cooperated nicely." One of the priorities of the community is to provide ample activities in an environment of peace and quiet, for residents who want to participate. "Our goals fit in with the owners' goals," said the couple.

It's a family run operation. Two of the partners are Carole Rongey and son, Craig Rongey. Their group of communities includes Country Estates, Golden West Estates in Walla Walla and Birch Tree in the Spokane Valley.

The Ainleys are committed to serving as stewards of Country Estates. According to Lee Ainley, there's plenty to like about the community, "It's the pride of ownership. Everyone keeps up their yards and gardens. and they have quite a bit of space. There's nice roads and cul-de-sacs, like an old-time community. The residents feel safe to walk, use their walkers or scooters."

Craig Rongey said they value the trees and natural habitat in the area. This means a lot of birds and other creatures to observe.

Social activities are available, too. The clubhouse offers a place for everything from blood pressure checks to crafts, art and wood carving classes, movies and coffee hour. It also includes a reading and video library for residents. They have access to a swimming pool, pool table and horseshoe pits.

Carole Rongey stressed that the special activities are available for all residents, who may participate or not, as they choose. "We have something every month, whether it's a potluck or a birthday party. In June we had a strawberry social with Klicker strawberries." According to Rongey, Country Estates' largest event is a Christmas dinner for the residents. Pat Ainley said the clubhouse will be decorated beautifully for the holiday, with a Christmas tree and all the trimmings. "On Christmas Eve, we'll have the movie, 'A Christmas Carol,' and hot chocolate and cider. Something nice for people who may not have any family." Another big draw is the community-wide, spring and fall yard sale, according to Ainley.

Craig Rongey said the community has about 205 residents, average age 74, on about 30 acres. "We're very proud of our tenants, we have wonderful tenants," Carole Rongey added.

Pat Ainley said, "One of the great things about it is that everybody here helps each other. If we haven't seen our neighbor, we check on them and we all look out for each other."

Several residents expressed their affinity for the community. Mary Ann Applebee, a resident for almost four years, said "It's delightful, so many things to do. Natural surroundings, trees and streams." Donna Ritchie, who has been at Country Estates for about 11 years added, "It's really nice, good neighbors."

Helen Clough said, "We're in our fifth year here and we love it. It's awesome and the people are friendly. The managers are coming up with neat things to do to keep people involved." She enjoys having neighbors that are 55 and older, with similar interests and attitudes.

Bruce Clough has been elected president of the newly formed Manufactured Home Owners Association at the community.

As far as plans for the future, Craig Rongey said, "Upgrade and update, keep the place viable." Lee and Pat Ainley said they want to be a positive influence and help people.

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