Originally from Oak Park, Illinois, Ken and Linda Zwierz are now making the most of life at The Lakes of Valparaiso after relocating to Northwest Indiana in the fall.
Now retired, Ken and Linda had a range of motivations for moving to the region, not least of which was their two granddaughters who are active student-athletes at Valparaiso High school.
“The kids really wanted us to be here so we could be close and then we could get to go to their (swim) meets and not be driving so far,” Linda said.
In moving from a larger home which they owned in the Chicago suburbs, the Zwierz’ were keen on the idea of leaving behind the upkeep and work that goes into maintaining a large family home.
“I was the fixer-upper at home and so to not have the painting and the long driveway with the snow to worry about is nice,” said Linda. “It was an older house so there was some maintenance.”
“The time comes that, as you get a little older, you figure that you really don’t want to do this anymore,” added Ken. “I didn’t want to shovel the snow or cut the grass anymore.”
Initially, Ken and Linda looked around Oak Park for places to relocate to and downsize but the high cost of living made the notion infeasible.
“First we were looking around the Chicago area but there was just nothing that we liked and could afford,” said Ken. “There were new buildings but very expensive.”
In searching online, they came across The Lakes of Valparaiso which was just being built at the time and the features, amenities and location was all very appealing.
“He (Ken) walks every day and there was an advertised ‘walking park’ here,” Linda said. “We drove around other places and looked but we really like that this was brand new. It had the amenities and the garage, and in-unit laundry which was essential.”
“When I was still working and thinking about retiring, I thought that when the time comes I wanted to retire in a college town where there’s lots of things going on,” said Ken. “I was thinking Champaign or Madison but, with Valpo, I had envisioned it as a junior college. When we came out and looked at it, it’s a beautiful campus, there’s lots of stuff going on and it meets that requirement.”
“Another thing is that we’re so close to the Dunes and the South Shore,” Ken added. “You can get back and forth, and into Chicago, inexpensively. It costs $8 round trip to get downtown and that’s the same as taking the Green Line into Chicago from Oak Park so there was a lot of nice things that fell into place about The Lakes.”
The beautiful setting makes for a wonderful backdrop for Ken’s walks every day and the gym is a tremendous feature for Linda and her granddaughter who enjoys taking advantage of everything that The Lakes of Valparaiso has to offer.
“Our grandkids love it!” Ken said. “There’s people of all ages here and, so far, everybody we’ve met has been very nice, I still can’t get used to everybody saying, ‘Hello’ to you whether they know you or not. They’ve also got something planned here all the time and once they open up the pool area in the summer there’ll be more of a chance to talk with people.”
“We wanted brand new and this really appealed to us,” added Linda. “I really liked the idea that there are miles of walking paths and the Clubhouse is right here, close by.”
“We’re pretty happy and we like it,” concluded Ken. “I really don’t think we could’ve done much better.”
To find out more about living at the Lakes of Valparaiso, visit their website at: lovthelife.com.