Buying Here: Mars

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When Margie Rosenberger moved to Overbrook Pointe, she left her snow shovel behind in Lawrenceville.

"Was I ever happy that I came here when I did," she said, noting the loads of snow this never-ending winter has dumped. "Thank God I don't have to do that."

PG graphic: Mars
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Snow shoveling and other maintenance is just one of the amenities at Overbrook Pointe Continuing Care Retirement Community, 1500 Graham Way, Mars, a Lutheran SeniorLife over-55 community.

"It is truly independent living. Everybody that lives here come and go as they please," said marketing coordinator Gina Marie Strasbaugh.

Residents have the choice of one-bedroom/one-bath units, one-bedroom/1 1/2 baths with a den, two-bedroom/two-bath or two-bedroom/two-bath and a fireplace. The 53 units at Overbrook Pointe are on three floors with an elevator. Each ground-floor unit has a patio and second- or third-floor units have balconies.

The apartments have high ceilings and neutral carpeting. Some have walk-in closets.

"I love my apartment," said Mrs. Rosenberger of her one-bedroom, ground-floor unit. "I have lots of window space and a beautiful view. When the weather breaks, I'll enjoy the patio."

One-bathroom units have walk-in showers; those with two baths have one with shower and one with a tub. All have safety rails in the tub/shower area and residents can request additional safety equipment.


Mars ... at a glanceIf you go

■ Size: 0.4 square miles

Population: 1,699 (2010 census)

■ School district: Mars Area (

 Enrollment: 3,239

 Average 2013 SAT scores: 510 Verbal, 523 Math, 514 Writing

■ Annual 2014 property taxes on a house assessed at $30,000: $4,215

Borough: $506 (16.88 mills)

School: $2,970 (99 mills)

County: $739 (24.628 mills

■ Fun fact: Founded in 1873, the borough originally was known as Overbrook. In 1882, the name was changed to Mars for reasons no one is quite sure of. Some say it was to honor postmaster Samuel Park's wife, who enjoyed astronomy; others believe it was named after Samuel Marshal, who helped establish said post office in 1873 along the banks of Breakneck Creek. Whatever the history, the town has embraced this otherwordly name: The high school football team is the Fightin' Planets and a vintage sci-fi flying saucer is the centerpiece of the town green.

*Millage rates in Butler County assessments are 100% of 1969 market values.

-- Gretchen McKay

Each unit comes with a fully equipped kitchen with white General Electric appliances including a dishwasher, refrigerator, glass-top stove, washer and dryer. If residents don't feel like cooking, they can head down to the dining room.

"Since we've been here, my wife has made two meals," said a laughing Paul Deah, who moved with his wife Lois from their farm in Richland. "We have a full-size kitchen, but so far she's enjoying the life of luxury."

The couple decided to move because Mrs. Deah had been having health problems, he said. Mr. Deah noticed Overbrook Pointe when it was under construction.

"Many places didn't have a good feel," he said. "I don't know if it is that it's a faith-based business but it felt right."

Lutheran SeniorLife, a social ministry organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, operates Overbrook Pointe, RoseCrest Assisted Care and St. John Specialty Care, which offers rehabilitation services and specialty, long-term, personal, Alzheimer's and skilled nursing care. There are two ministers on call 24/7 and Mr. Deah said residents are looking forward to religious services at Overbrook Pointe in the future.

Residents can simply rent their units or pay an entrance fee that reduces their rent.

"They can do a 50 percent refundable entrance fee or a non-refundable entrance fee," Ms. Strasbaugh explained. "When they pay an entrance fee, they put the money up-front and it lowers their rent and gives them priority [moving] into another level of care if they should need it."

Prices range from $2,000 to $3,500 per month, which includes a meal plan and electric, water and sewage, trash removal and all maintenance. A nice bonus is the twice-a-month light housekeeping service that is included along with weekly shuttle transportation for shopping in Mars and the Cranberry area. Residents get their own storage area located on their floor for easy access. Consolidated Cable offers residents a special bundle that includes cable, phone and internet for $70 per month.

"We have 24/7 secured building," Ms. Strasbaugh said. "Only those with a key fob can enter the building. Then we have security guards that are around the campus 24/7 and available if someone should need them."

Mrs. Rosenberger, who had lived in Lawrenceville for nearly all of her 89 years, said she was not sure about moving to an independent living community. She took care of both her mother and her mother-in-law in their last days and knew the toll that home care can have on a family. Her son influenced her decision, she said.

"My husband passed away last June and the house was too big for me to handle for another winter."

She said she enjoys letting someone else do the cooking. Or as she puts it: "I'm enjoying doing nothing."

A private dining room is available to the residents at no charge for parties or special events, a gourmet catering service and a multipurpose room for activities. Once a month, the chef gives a cooking demonstration.

"One month they did hummus. The chef does the whole cooking demonstration and everyone eats after," said Ms. Strasbaugh.

Mr. Deah said he enjoys walking around the property. "A level, paved pathway goes all around the building. It has real easy access and it's safe."

Once the weather improves, the residents are planning to plant in a raised garden bed and to hold happy hours and other special events in the outdoor courtyard with a barbecue and gazebo.

There is an exercise room with treadmills and other equipment in the building. Or it's a short walk to the senior center in Mars, which offers the Silver Sneakers exercise program. The community room has Wi-Fi, a fireplace and a large flat-screen TV.

Overbrook Pointe also offers monthly health screenings. "We have our own home care division and they provide health talks, blood pressure [readings] and flu shots," Ms. Strasbaugh said.

Mrs. Rosenberger said she enjoys a good read and has found the library immensely satisfying. "I enjoy being lazy and most of all I enjoy no steps."

Daily tours are available at Overbrook Pointe by calling 724-687-3372. An open house is scheduled at 6 p.m. May 1 (

Lizabeth Gray:

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