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Leisure Village Enclave Has Come of Age

October 03, 1998|JENNIFER KNIGHT

Now that Leisure Village has marked its 25th anniversary, it's safe to say that the Camarillo community is all grown up.

The enclave, a self-described "adult-living community," has expanded from its original 100 residents to more than 3,000.

And with 80% voter turnout, residents there are known as a voting tour-de-force in the city.

Recently, six of the original 100 residents sat down to talk about the community's infancy.

"We bought our home right off the map," said Ruth Resnik.

"They were just starting our house and it was one of the first ones with a two-car garage," said Tom O'Brien, 87, who was the 100th person to move in along with his wife, Bea, 84.

Residents don't think of the 440-acre site as a retirement community. They want the emphasis to be on living.

"We came here because we didn't want to sit at home and do nothing," said Bea O'Brien. "Here you can do everything."

Bea became an avid golfer, and her husband eventually served as the homeowners association's board president for three terms.

The activities list offers 90 choices ranging from luaus to shuffleboard. Also included are an 18-hole golf course and a recently added gym.

"We're very active here," said Charlotte Romero, 78.

After getting up at 5 a.m. to swim every morning, Romero helps at the local school as a campus supervisor. Her husband, Joe Romero, 80, teaches an auto mechanics class at the California Youth Authority.

Altogether, the original members say that since coming to Leisure Village 25 years ago, their stay has been anything but leisurely.

But the community that sprang from a lima bean field is not the only thing that has evolved in the last 25 years. Said Bea O'Brien, when asked about the biggest change: "We got older."

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