HJ/EDHerald Journal, Dec. 12, 2005

Waverly 'gets in your blood'

By Jenni Sebora

When longtime residents get together to talk about Waverly, they do so with pride of the past and the present and expectations for the future.

“Waverly is a close-knit community and a friendly town,” life-long resident Gerry Smith said.

With growth occurring, residents work to keep that same small town atmosphere, Smith noted. Life-long resident MaryKay Jonhson agreed.

“The planning and zoning commission have prepared for the growth. We know it’s going to come – accept it, and it’s best to be ready for it,” Smith said.

That growth includes several new developments.

Carrigan Lake features a number of active residential projects, including the third addition of Carrigan Meadows, which offers 60 lots in this phase.

Woodland Shores, near Carrigan Lake, has work underway in its first phase. Two phases are planned, with 80 lots in each phase.

Carrigan Estates has 54 lots in its development. The development is under an association so the homeowners own their own building pad, but the snow removal and lawn mowing duties are done by the association.

Summer fields, on the west side of town, is presently issuing building permits in its third addition, which offers 50 lots. Fifty-six lots are housed in the first two additions.

Spring Meadows, west of County Road 8, has started its grading work and will have 112 lots available.

Windgate at Carrigan Lake, located on the east side of town, is also in the midst of grading and utility work and will have 105 lots.

Adjacent to Carrigan Meadows, land is currently being annexed and will have just short of 400 lots.

To extend a friendly welcome, and to help new residents experience the small town, friendly atmosphere, the welcome committee was formed in 2004.

“The City of Waverly sponsors the ‘welcome’ at no cost to the residents,” welcome committee chairperson and city council member Pam Henry-Neaton said.

Neaton pays a face-to-face visit to the new residents with information packets in hand. These packets contain helpful information for new residents including information about organizations, businesses, and medical facilities available in the area.

Neaton also answers questions that residents may have and gives cards to them to complete if they have any concerns.

If residents aren’t home after a few attempts at a visit, Neaton leaves the welcome packet at their door.

“People have been very receptive to this and are excited to be in Waverly,” Neaton said.

Last year, Neaton made 55 welcome visits , and she has made 40 thus far this year, with more to go, Neaton noted.

“I have more visits to make as we speak,” Neaton said.

During Neaton’s visits, residents have shared reasons why they have chosen Waverly as their home of residence. Some of the reasons given include the small town atmosphere and being close to many amenities, good school district, and lower housing costs and taxes.

“One couple went on the Internet to investigate the city and school district and were very impressed with the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district and its high test scores – so impressed the family moved to Waverly,” Neaton said.

“There was another couple who came to Waverly Daze a few years ago, and had a lot of fun, and liked Waverly so much, they chose to move here,” Neaton added. “There are a lot of new residents that have commented on and are impressed with the policing in Waverly also.”

And long-time residents like Neaton, Johnson, and Smith agree that there are many reasons why Waverly is a great town in which to live, including the friendly small town atmosphere, walking distance to local businesses, such as the grocery store and the post office, varied community events, parks and playgrounds, and the lakes.

“We are lucky to have the lakes, and the Waverly Waterfront Legion Park has something for everyone to enjoy,” Smith said.

Besides the community playgrounds, each new development has its own park and walking paths, Neaton noted.

And there is something for everyone in the form of community events throughout the year also.

Some of the events residents can enjoy are Waverly Daze, the Lion’s fish fry, Memorial Day program, the tractor show, ice festival, black powder shoot, Halloween and Christmas celebrations, summer recreation program, the book-it bonanza at school, and this year, the first annual Christmas tree lighting.

The town also boasts some wonderful architecture as well, Smith noted, and Johnson agreed.

The village hall, which was built in 1939, has hosted many events, and the eye-catching St. Mary’s steeple stands prominent in the town.

“Many people who visit Waverly comment on the village hall,” Smith said.

But Smith, Neaton, and Johnson also agree that the most important part of Waverly is the people.

“When something happens, people are there for you,” Neaton said.

“People are there for each other,” Smith added.

For example, Neaton explained, a new resident in Waverly was laying sod, and a neighbor approached the new resident offering assistance and helped with the sod-laying process.

Things get done in Waverly because of all the people who are willing to volunteer and help out, Smith noted.

“We have a lot of people who volunteer, from the Legion members to the Lions to the Knights of Columbus,” Smith said.

Among the other organizations in Waverly that “help get things done” are the Lake Association, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA, and the fire department.

“The city is lucky to have the organizations and committees it has,” Smith said.

To sum it up, “Waverly gets in your blood and doesn’t get out,” Johnson said.

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