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Published: Thursday, 7/4/2002

Project captures sense of community

The Mayberry Railroad cross sign marks Mayberry Square, a traditional neighborhood development off of Sylvania-Metamora Road. The Mayberry Railroad cross sign marks Mayberry Square, a traditional neighborhood development off of Sylvania-Metamora Road.

Pull off Centennial Road, just south of Sylvania-Metamora Road, and into Mayberry Square. It's not Andy Griffith's hometown, but when you're there, you do a double-take, expecting Deputy Barney Fife to drive by and wave hello.

Step into Floyd's Barber Shop for a 1940s experience, but don't ask the barber if he's Floyd. Carl Mandell owns the shop. Floyd was Andy Griffith's barber on the old television series, and while Mr. Mandell will set you straight if you make the mistake, he may not respect you afterward.

He'll point to the Andy Griffith Show reruns on the television and explain how the show's on cable if you want to watch at home, but for now you can have a seat on the church pew and get educated before getting a haircut.

Mr. Mandell works in his shop, just like many of the business owners at Mayberry Square. His business, in part, comes from the Mayberry Square residents - there are 24 apartments above the shops, and in back there are several homes. Eventually, there will be 50 apartments, about 84 houses, and a 94-unit senior citizen apartment complex.

Mayberry Square, a project 10 years in planning, and under construction for about two, is what developers call a traditional neighborhood development - otherwise known as a community.

If the development seems oddly familiar, it could be because The Truman Show, a 1998 movie staring Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, was filmed in a “traditional neighborhood development” called Seaside in Florida, Mayberry co-developer Mike Hojnacki said.

People of all ages live at Mayberry Square, he said. It is a mix of old and traditional with new and trendy.

Take Mayberry Diner.

Only black and white photos hang on the wall. There are booths in the corner against one wall, tables elsewhere, and a lunch counter with 10 chrome bar stools - the seats are blue to match the blue tile on the counter.

It's kind of a 1940s feeling, but at the same time, modern.

Tammy Scott, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Brian, said after a month in business, the diner has regulars and a lunch crowd.

Mrs. Scott said she always wanted to have a diner, and Mayberry was the right place at the right time.

On Sundays, families come in.

“Families getting up in the morning, going out to breakfast, doing their family thing,” she said.

Upstairs, live people like Ted Dion.

Mr. Dion, 76, moved in six months ago with his wife, Donna.

“It's a different complex than anything else around Toledo,” he said.

Mr. Dion walks for an hour every morning, down and around to Pacesetter Park, making a three or four-mile circuit.

“I try to keep from rigor mortis setting in,” he says, laughing on the outside balcony.

The balcony that runs along the back of the retail shops faces the houses being built at the rear of the 40-acre site.

Summer Lehman was the first to move in. Her father, Doug Wamsher, is Mr. Hojnacki's co-developer.

Mrs. Lehman and her husband have lived in one of the cottage homes for more than two years.

“I love living here,” she said. There are always people to talk with, to visit, and to know.

She has a flower competition going with a neighbor across the street and visits her with the other neighbors regularly.

“The people are so cool,” she said.

Alissa Meyer lives across and down the street from her. Mrs. Meyer and her husband have been there just over a year.

The two neighbors are friends, and don't hesitate to ask for a favor - or invite each other to their Fourth of July parties.

Everyone, it seems, had one. Mrs. Meyer expected 60 people to come. Mrs. Lehman, 30.

After all, it's the best seat in Sylvania or Sylvania Township to watch the fireworks.

“You never have to leave your neighborhood,” Mrs. Meyer said.

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