Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why was On Top of the World first named "The City of Life?" Why was it changed and named On Top of the World?

The short answer is that the name “The City of Life” was Mr. Sidney Colen’s idea. He wanted to start a community that was remarkably different from anything he’d done before. He wanted to create a community that could truly be a celebration of life in all its diversity. The community he envisioned was one that was predominantly pedestrian, with cars only allowed on the periphery. Parks would be a prominent feature. The focus of the community would be centered on arts and education…arts of all kind, not so much from an entertainment perspective, but from an experiential level for the residents through their direct participation in the creation of works. In this regard, Mr. Colen was inspired by the success of the community of Chautauqua.

Interestingly enough, part of that original vision is being realized today through the Circle Square Cultural Center and Master the Possibilities Educational Center. Sholom Park is also an extension of that vision, as is the extensive commitment to building a park-like, pedestrian friendly atmosphere along the main thoroughfares within the community.

The thinking was a good 20 years ahead of its time. In many ways, this vision was a forbearer to the architecture movement known as “new urbanism”. The home design followed the theme consistent with being a pedestrian community. Every home had a front porch for sitting. Smaller, neighborhood green spots are distributed throughout the community. The limiting of automobiles proved not too practical. A truce of sorts was declared with the popular integration of golf carts into everyday usage.

So what happened to the name? Well, it never really got traction. Mr. Colen realized that the “On Top of the World” name had a wonderful reputation and excellent recognition already established in Clearwater, FL. Thus, the Ocala, FL community was renamed On Top of the World – Central within nine months of opening. As to the original vision, it had to adapt to the actual market reality: people will not easily part with their automobile(s). All things considered, it took longer to develop the original vision, and yes, there was adaptation along the way.

Mr. Sidney Colen was very proud of the community he inspired and did live long enough to see much of that original vision realized. On Top of the World – Central continues to evolve and refine itself within the broad scope of the original vision. It is a community that deeply respects Mr. Colen’s environmental vision, as well as his admiration for the arts and education.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane with an Unbelievable Tribute to the Blues Brothers

Enjoy a fun-filled night as The Alabama Blues Brothers take you on a trip back to the movie theatre! Sing along and laugh at the antics of this amazing real-life brother act and their talented backup band with an unbelievable tribute to the Blues Brothers!

Don’t miss this high energy, dance-in-the-aisle entertainment
with The Alabama Blues Brothers Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7 pm at the Circle Square Cultural Center located at 8395 SW 80th St, Ocala. For more information visit:, or call 352-854-3670.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The History of On Top of the World Communities, Ocala, FL

“One of the nation’s 50 best active-adult communities” according to Where to Retire magazine (2011), On Top of the World Communities has become an acknowledged leader in active-adult residential design, as well as a pioneer in building energy-efficient homes.

A comprehensive mix of innovation and value is part of a multi-generational family tradition started by company founder, Sidney Colen, in the 1940s. It was the way Mr. Sidney, as he was called, had operated since 1947, when he began building single-family homes in the St. Petersburg, FL area.

By 1957, he developed Florida’s first community for active-adult buyers and created the first modern condominium community – Clearview Oaks in Clearwater, FL. A decade later, the company began building its next community, On Top of the World, also in Clearwater. Close to 5,000 condominium homes in all were built in that area.

In 1975, Sidney Colen turned his attention to north central Florida and purchased a 12,972-acre cattle ranch established by James Norris in the 1940s – Circle Square Ranch. Colen had a vision to develop this land in a way that combines an innovative, superior lifestyle with friendly and inviting neighborhoods; a vision of preserving the environment and natural beauty together with establishing a tradition of excellence. With the development of a master-planned community at Circle Square Ranch, portions of the land continue to be a working ranch while the remainder of the property moved into a new, carefully thought out phase, maximizing the full potential of the spectacular location and surroundings.

Since the start of construction at On Top of the World Communities in Ocala in the early 1980s, about 4,500 homes have been built in 14 neighborhoods. Development of the Ocala, FL property has been overseen by Colen’s son, Kenneth Colen, who inherited his father’s eye for detail and concern for the environment.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Internet Scams: Don't Be A Victim

You hear it all the time...someone gets an email from their bank asking to verify their information and ends up losing all of their savings. Or you're happily surfing the internet when a virus scan alert appears on your screen saying you've been infected. You think you're doing the right thing and click on the "SCAN NOW" button and that's when it infects your computer.

There are a lot of scams on the internet and it's important you keep a keen eye on what you're clicking and/or sending. On Top of the World is always on the look-out for the latest news on scams and fraudulent activity on the internet. We have our ear to the ground and will notify you of these scams and dangerous viruses by posting an alert on our Facebook page and Twitter account as well as our resident informational website

Learn more about the latest scams by reading this article. Stay informed and on your toes!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Get to Know Sami Odeh

Sami Odeh has lived at On Top of the World Communities for four years and has been an instructor of stained glass at Master the Possibilities Education Center (MTP) for 3 of those years. Sami’s stained glass work began as a hobby 15 years ago. He is self-taught and does his own stained glass designs. “It took me several years of trial and error to accomplish the success I am having today,” he says. Combining persistence with a keen eye for detail, Sami became very adept at creating wonderful stained glass pieces. Over time, he has managed to fill his home with his own art work.

Teaching the art of stained glass at MTP has given Sami the opportunity to share his vast knowledge of this art with the community and Ocala. “It is very satisfying to watch the students complete their stained glass projects and then to share their accomplishments with their loved ones”, Sami explains.