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Local neighborhoods featured in national retirement magazine

pool at Riverwood Plantation

Columbia County's Riverwood Plantation is in "Where to Retire" magazine's top 50. (June 13, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday June 13, 2011

EVANS, Ga.---Most people think retirement home, and think the beach or the mountains, but many older folks are bucking that trend and moving into active-adult communities right here in our area.

Several local communities are getting some national attention and made a magazine's list of the 50 best master-planned communities in the U.S. One of them is Riverwood Plantation, in Columbia County.

"This would have been a fourth bedroom but I decided to make it into a sitting room," shows 70-year old Gracie Pritts.

Seven years ago, after her husband passed away, Gracie moved into the Amberly neighborhood, in Riverwood Plantation.

"I said, this is it. This is for me. My neighbors were all retired people just like me. I love it here...love it," adds Gracie

And Gracie's not alone. Where to Retire Magazine just named Riverwood Plantation to it's "Top 50 list of Best Master-Planned Communities in the United States.

"We think it's not only quite a honor for not only Riverwood but for Augusta," says Kathy Rawls, the site manager of sales at Riverwood Plantation.

"It's been a lot of hard work by a lot of people but it's come together quite nicely, we're pleased," adds Wayne Millar, the developer.

With plenty going on in and around the clubhouse, Gracie and her other neighbors say living here, in the age targeted duplexes, is just perfect.

"We party, we play, we pray together. People our age like the interaction of other people, so we all started it and we love it," explains Gracie.

"Our job is to create an environment where you have people that are transient coming into an area and to create an environment for people to connect and meet," adds Millar.

Columbia County leaders say this is advertising, you can't put a price-tag on and with a growing number of baby boomers looking to retire, now they hope more developers follow suit.

"I think we're amping it up just a little bit, especially since this came out. This will be ideal, perfect," explains Columbia County Development Director Richard Harmon.

"Most people expect these type of communities to be in Florida, because that's where everyone seems to retire to and Georgia is the hidden surprise. We're more family than neighborhood, it's a community," says Gracie.

Two communities in Aiken also made Where to Retire Magazine, Cedar Creek and Woodside Plantation. The July/August issue will be out later this month.

Georgia passed an incentive bill last year eliminating income tax on retirement income, like pensions and investments, making this area even more attractive to retirees.

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