By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS and JASON CRESS | CoServ
Gina Litvack still pinches herself a year after she moved into Windsong Ranch in Prosper.
When she was house hunting, the CoServ Member and single mom was entirely focused on finding the right school district for her adopted son Hudson. The homeowner association amenities were an afterthought.
Then, she saw the tranquil blue waters of the Lagoon surrounded by sandy beaches.
“I was in literal shock, I could not believe that I lived here and I could walk to this lagoon,” Gina said. “I’m never going to have to go on vacation again. It’s nothing like I ever pictured or imagined.”
That wow factor is just what Tellus Group, the developer of Windsong Ranch, intended when they designed the project. The first-of-its-kind amenity in North Texas spans a quarter of a mile from end to end and is filled with 10 million gallons of crystal clear water. As big as it is, it actually uses 100 times less chemicals than a traditional pool.
The sheer size of the Lagoon allowed it to stay open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because there’s more than enough room for people to spread out and socially distance. Gina has gone out on a canoe and joined neighborhood barbecues while Hudson has fun on the playground.
Craig Martin, President of the Tellus Group and Windsong Ranch developer, said the inspiration came to him while visiting a massive lagoon at a resort in Cabo San Lucas. He knew if he could make something of this scale feasible for his residential developments, he could take homeowners associations to a whole new level.
“My vision was to do this all over the country,” Craig said. “We want to create a lifestyle community that actually creates or enhances lives and the way people interact with their family and friends within the community. There’s nothing like it. People recognize the value that it creates for them when they choose a home.”
In reality, builders typically offer the same floorplan in multiple communities so it’s the HOA offerings that help neighborhoods compete with each other.
That makes the Lagoon just the latest salvo in the HOA arms race taking place within CoServ territory.
About three miles to the east, the Savannah master planned community features its own water amenity in addition to dog parks, pocket parks, workout facilities, sport fields and courts, trails and a sprawling two-story clubhouse complete with chandeliers and murals.
The water park is the main attraction with 16 and 25-foot water slides, a rock grotto with waterfalls and a spray park. There’s also a sand beach and separate 11-foot pool for adults. Add in a golf cart club and parades throughout the year, and you’ve got amenities to please everyone.
“Our goal was to provide country club living at an affordable price,” said Barry Jameson, Director of District Relations for Huffines Communities.
The amenities draw people in but it’s the deep sense of community and friendships that form at the amenities that are the real benefits for residents like Glenda Fischtziur.
“We looked at the pool and we go ‘good grief,’” Glenda said. “There’s something for pretty much everybody. The grandchildren have extra reason to visit when you have these kinds of amenities. I can’t imagine living anywhere else right now.”
The former HOA president went on a cruise with several of her neighbors she met in the neighborhood.
Drive a few miles west down 380, you’ll see another pair of water slides at the front of Providence Village. If it looks similar to Savannah, it’s because the two neighborhoods were built by the same developer, Huffines. The Providence Village water amenity feels like a miniature water park with not only slides but pools of various depths, a splashpad and a sandbox.
“You name it, Providence has it,” said Don Fisher, president of the Providence HOA.
The water amenities have become community hangouts for food and fellowship for the residents. Don is excited to see more residents out and about at events this year after the pandemic shut things down in 2020. On an average day before the pandemic, it wasn’t uncommon to have 300 residents enjoying the pools and water slides.
The HOA’s commitment to giving residents a great experience also reflects in their energy efficiency habits. The pools run on variable speed pumps and the community facilities run on LED lighting.
“Making small changes literally cut our energy bills in half,” Don said. “The long-term savings are incredibly beneficial.”