Realife Cooperative of West St. Paul: A neighborhood under one roof


Realife Cooperative of West St. Paul is nestled on a hill with plenty of trees making it not feel like it's in the middle of a city.

Owner/members enjoying gardening in Realife's backyard.

One owner/member barbeques on Realife's patio.

Realife's woodshop.

Realife Cooperative of West St. Paul will have 

an open house on March 25 from 

12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Check out the senior living community’s updated website or stop in to get a feel for what co-op living is all about.

Whether you are retiring, downsizing or simply longing for a more carefree lifestyle, Realife Cooperative of West St. Paul can fit your needs. This community for adults age 55-plus offers all the benefits of ownership with none of the hassles. 

The not for profit cooperative exists solely for the pleasure and benefit of the owner/members. Realife’s one bedroom and den, and two bedroom units offer privacy, spacious rooms, full kitchens and balconies. 

The units come with countless amenities and services, including heated indoor parking with a car wash, a fitness center, woodworking shop, game room, great room with a kitchen for entertaining and a craft room. 

Realife West St. Paul is truly a community where people enjoy freedom, security, friends, and a beautiful place to live at very affordable costs in exchange for their participating/volunteering with the various needs to keep the cooperative organization successful and viable. Owner/members may participate on the board, committees or just helping out. Owner/members together with the guidance of their professional management company make informed decisions on the finances, projects, policies, etc.   

Owner/members Ozzie and Lynn Dwelly have been married for 64 years and discovered Realife after reading a newspaper feature story about the co-op. They scheduled a tour and were immediately impressed. Lynn remembers, “The units were bigger than what we saw at other places.” 

“And it was a lot more bang for the buck, for sure,” Ozzie adds. 

Owner/member Marjorie Cosgrove concurs, explaining, “I felt at home the minute I moved in. I never thought I would find everything on my requirements list, and I found everything here. I think it’s perfect!” 

The Dwellys and Cosgrove all agree that living in a senior cooperative has freed up their time, money and energy. 

Now when it snows, they never have to worry about shoveling. The same goes for other chores, like mowing the lawn, cleaning out the gutters or raking leaves. They’ve shed all those tasks in favor of getting down to business of doing more living.

Gone too are the feelings of isolation they sometimes felt in their houses. 

Owner/member Marlene Hult explains, “You have these caring neighbors around all the time; you’re not alone.” 

Seniors at Realife can choose privacy or activity, serenity or the social scene -- at any given time in a day. Because they are owner/members, they also participate in decisions about the facility.

The co-op’s convenient location, near Interstate 494 and Highways 52 and 110, allows owner/members to get to downtown St. Paul in minutes. They are also close to the Twin Cities airport, the Robert Street shopping district, medical facilities and the Mall of America. 

Jennifer Trombley is among the owner/members who still work, and she finds it much easier to commute from Realife to her job in downtown St. Paul.

The owner/members say they are proud to own this fabulous residential building, and they take care of it. 

“We have extraordinary grounds, tended to by professional groundskeepers and volunteers with mastery in gardening,” says Phyllis Beatty.  “There are also small plots of land some owner/members can tend for their own benefit. In addition to gardening, I appreciate the broad range of skills, talents and interests each brings to our community.” 

“There’s a great deal of care that goes from staff to the co-op owner/members, and back again. I live in a great neighborhood, and when we say this is a neighborhood under one roof, we’re not kidding.” Beatty says.

Realife Cooperative of West St. Paul also offers a library, guest rooms, various transportation options -- including a owner/member-run, volunteer driving team -- and is located in an area with many restaurant options. The area has many walking trails and parks that connect all the way to the Mississippi River. 

“With my service dog I’ve checked out a lot of the parks around here, and within minutes you can be in the woods,” says Cynthia Neubecher. 

All the owner/members say they’ve created a new chapter in their life -- a real life. 

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