80 | ideal-LIVING.com
Lifelong Learning | Leadership in Retirement
by Emily Colin
Retirement Putting Hard-Earned Skills to Work at Keowee Key
Located on a gorgeous lake in the South Carolina foothills, 45-year-old Keowee Key has many of the
amenities you’d associate with a master-planned community: boating, a George Cobb-designed championship golf
course, walking trails, tennis, pickleball, a pool, parks,
and beaches. But, instead of being operated by a development company, Keowee Key is member-owned and
governed. It’s a nonprofit organization, a municipality
with 3,500 residents and its own water and sewer system. A seven-person elected board of directors oversees
the community, and residents vote on how they’d like to
see Keowee Key change and grow.
With so many opportunities for involvement, it’s no
surprise that Keowee Key is home to phenomenal leaders, whose skills have proven invaluable. From strategic
planning to fiscal stewardship, fire mitigation to facility
renovation, the residents at Keowee Key—many of whom
are retirees—play a vital role in shaping their community.
STRATEGIC PLANNING TAKES CENTER STAGE
Margaret Eldridge, Keowee Key’s
board president, has lived in the community for 12 years. Before retiring 20
years ago, she had a robust banking career. “I spent time managing the bank’s
investment portfolio as well as running
the loan administration area. I was also chairman of a
state agency that provided financing for low-income housing and economic development activities. A combination
of those things helped me understand the most appropriate
mechanisms for financing big projects,” says Eldridge, who
was also president of consumer banking for a statewide
holding company and chairman of a bank.
Keowee Key’s board is proactive when it comes to
strategic planning. “Five years ago, we identified the
current trends for communities like ours and determined
Keowee Key isn’t your typical community—and it doesn’t attract typical folks.