Freehold Communities Instigates COVID-19 Relief

Original article from BuilderOnline.com >

Developer finds ways to engage residents of its master plans during the virus shutdown.

Freehold Communities, developer of the Vital Communities brand master plans nationwide, has developed a series of social programs to form solidarity and fun among residents even as they stay safe at home.

The Boston-based community developer offers extensive amenities, events programming and friendly social directors. Now, it’s added safe-distance programs.

“The health of our homeowners, our team members and all of our development partners has been our top priority since this crisis began. Fortunately, we also have incredibly talented lifestyle directors led by Monica Hollins at the communities we build,” said Suzanne Maddalon, vice president of marketing for Freehold Communities. “We’ve worked with them to innovate ways that allow residents to stay close, but safely apart. Our residents have also come up with their own fun ideas.”

Here is an overview of programs in some communities and regions:


Headwaters, Dripping Springs, Texas (near Austin). This 1,035-acre development has 1,000 lots with homes selling in multiple phases. The community includes broad expanses of natural habitat, including Barton Creek and five protected hilltops, plus resort-style split-level pool, Wi-Fi café, miles of trails and a stargazing amphitheater. To keep residents connected, Headwaters has initiated the following:

  • Headwaters Together – supporting homeowners on the “front lines.” These residents love their front-yard signs and weekly porch surprises delivered by generous neighbors.
  • Headwaters is hosting Happy Hour via Zoom in partnership with a local distillery owned by a community resident that delivered cocktail kits to all participants.
  • Daily community interaction – The 5 o’clock wave and the ongoing HW Photo Club where residents can share photos of social media to show how they are getting through their days.
  • Fitness – Weekly workout videos from the HW Personal Trainer; weekly Recipes from the HW Personal Trainer; virtual personal training; virtual Zoom Yoga from the HW Yoga Teacher; weekly Tabata Classes via Zoom.

Orchard Ridge, Liberty Hill, Texas (near Austin). With 248 acres and 670 home sites, the community features an expansive system of walking trails, playgrounds, orchards, community gardens and neighborhood parks in Texas Hill Country. Model homes are open for virtual tours and private appointments at several neighborhoods. Social activities include:

  • First annual Orchard Ridge Lip Sync Battle – A huge success, several community residents submitted videos of themselves lip syncing their favorite tunes. The winner was a 16-year-old young lady who performed “All the Single Ladies.” (Better luck next time, fellas.)
  • Post a Picture of Something You are Grateful For – Heartwarming photos of nature, families, kids and more were submitted for all to see on social media. Residents at Orchard Ridge have bonded together under the theme of “Life Moves Forward.”

Homestead, Schertz/Cibolo, Texas (near San Antonio). Its 522 acres offer 1,471 homesites with welcoming front porches and sustainable building, connected by five miles of trails to ponds, recreational parks, and natural surroundings. Close to several military bases, Homestead has attracted a large number of military personnel, first responders and government employees as homebuyers. Activities for Homestead residents include:

  • Virtual Painting Party – Homestead partnered with local business Let’s Paint Ya’ll for a community painting party. Let’s Paint Ya’ll offered painting sessions for children and adults and sent supplies to all who registered for the Zoom party.
  • Virtual Story Time – Homestead teamed up with children’s book author and kindergarten teacher Shelby Crawford to host a Zoom live reading of her new book Dr. Beau: The ABC Vet! Every participant received a digital Dr. Beau coloring page and was entered into a drawing for a free personalized signed copy of the book by the author.

“It’s been amazing to watch so many of our homeowners as they rediscover the outdoor spaces in our communities,” said Andrea Salafia, marketing manager for Freehold Communities in Texas. “Families are taking walks together, posting pictures of the environment and really just taking the time to experience the beauty even more.”


Durham Farms, Hendersonville, Tennessee (near Nashville). With 1,200lots on 472 acres, Durham Farms offers a small-town lifestyle with tree-lined streets, ample green space, neighborhood parks and nearly three miles of walking trails. New homes from a variety of award-winning homebuilders are now selling. Some community engagement at Durham Farms has included:

  • Durham Farms Find Your Happy Place – A week-long photo challenge was created on the Durham Farms Facebook page where residents shared their “happy places” in or around their homes. More than 60 submissions were received, from which a daily winner was selected and received a gift card for takeout from a local restaurant of their choice.
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive – Realizing there was a need in the Greater Nashville community for blood donations, Durham Farms resident and American Red Cross staff member, Andrea Owens, organized the American Red Cross Bus to be in the community in early April. Residents scheduled an appointment in advance to participate. The event collected 23 units of blood, which can potentially save up to 69 lives.

“Durham Farms is a very tight-knit community, residents regularly give support to neighbors by baking goods, helping bring in the trash can or offering to pick up items from the grocery store,” said Lacey Edwards, marketing manager for Freehold Communities in Tennessee. “Residents stay in touch via the community Facebook group and have been a wonderful support for each other during these challenging times.”


Shearwater, St. John’s County, Florida (near Jacksonville). A 1,524-acre, 2,600-lot community with 15-miles of walking trails through 600 acres of preserved habitat, parks, fields, lakes and canoe/kayak access to Trout Creek. Shearwater is now open with new homes for sale. Here’s some recent community engagement happenings at Shearwater:

  • Wellbeats At-Home Workouts – In lieu of the Fitness Lodge amenities, Shearwater and Wellbeats offer residents special access to at-home, virtual workout classes.
  • Displays of Pride – Residents give thanks and show their pride for those working on the front lines by decorating their front doors.
  • Virtual Contests – From Fun Run fundraisers to lip-sync battles to bingo and more, residents entertain each other online.

Arden, Palm Beach County, Florida. Arden is South Florida’s first “agrihood” with 2,000 homesites set within 1,209 acres that include a 5-acre community farm and barn, mile-long central lake, 20 miles of trails, and 176 acres of parks and open space. Several homebuilders are now selling at Arden. Here’s what has been happening at Arden:

  • Weekly Window Display Challenge – After a successful five weeks, Arden recently wrapped up its Weekly Window Display Challenge. The final theme was “Family Ties,” where participants created displays that best represented their family. Voting took place on Facebook with more than 90 votes cast.
  • Game Night Live! – Arden is hosting regular interactive game parties on Friday evenings with its spin on game show classics. For instance, 16 married couples went up against each other to see how well they know, or don’t know each other in the ‘Not-So Newlywed Game.’

Arden children show off their work in the Weekly Window Display Challenge.

“At both Shearwater and Arden, it has been truly heartwarming to see our residents grow closer during these past several weeks,” said Susan Moguel, marketing manager for Freehold Communities is Florida. “The community engagement at these two communities has demonstrated that, despite what we are going through, we’re in it together and staying connected is important for everyone’s wellbeing. We’re proud of all of our residents and all of the Freehold team members that have made the best of the situation we’re in.” To bring residents of all of its communities around the country together, Freehold has also created Thursday Night Trivia. Hundreds of residents participated as these virtual neighbors tuned-in for some friendly competition to see which community will earn a spot in the upcoming “Clash of the Communities” night.

“These are challenging times for everyone, but we know that we will be on the other side of this soon,” said Maddalon. “In the meantime, we will continue to bring uplifting, interactive experiences for our residents.”

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