A “new urbanism movement” broke ground in southern Delaware County Saturday for the 1,250-acre walk-able community know as Evans Farm.
“For years as a trustee, what I’ve heard from residents is we don’t have that community feeling,” said Rob Quigley, Orange Township trustee. “What they’re doing here is taking that vision of what the residents want and bringing it together.”
According to Evans Farm developers, they are breaking the mold of how housing developments have been designed and built for last 75 years. Evans Farm will not only have housing but also retail shops, banks, grocery stores and restaurants — all within walking distance from the homes.
George Kaitsa, Delaware County’s auditor, said he likes the idea that Evans Farm will have walk-able access to shops and commercial businesses within the community.
“I think this an exciting project,” he said. “It’s a great concept — especially the pedestrian concept they’re bringing in.”
Evans Farm developer Tony Eyerman said that each one of the 2,200-plus homes would be uniquely distinctive in architecture and design. No two houses will look the same, like in other developments. The only thing each house will have in common will be a large front porch to sit and greet passing neighbors.
Eyerman said each lot owner could pick and work with any one of their hand-picked builders to design a house.
“We have gone through a number of months to interview and select 13 builders,” he said. “They understand the new urbanism concept and we’ve been working on the architectural guidelines with them.”
According to a fact sheet provided by the developers, the starting price of a home will be $300,000.
Eyerman’s partner, Dan Griffin, is a Cincinnati native who has relocated his family to Delaware County.
“The vision has been worked on for eight years,” Griffin said. “The welcoming we’ve got from the county and the township has been incredible.”
Delaware County Commissioner Gary Merrell was a newly elected commissioner when the idea of Evans Farm was shared with the county.
“To watch it take shape over the last three years is really fantastic,” he said. “It’s a signature of them for our county.”
On behalf of U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, spokesman Mark Bell delivered a proclamation from the congressman.
“It’s a exciting time for Delaware County and Orange Township,” he said. “All this growth and development provides jobs and income.”
Bell said he was born in Delaware County when John F. Kennedy was president. He said he has seen many changes over the years in the county — from traveling to Columbus to shop to now walking to a store.
“It provides places where we can go and shop,” he said. “And we don’t have to drive to Columbus to get what we want.”
Other facts provided by Evans Farm developers include:
• The community is situated in the middle of the Olentangy School District.
• Alum Creek State Park is within walking distance.
• The natural environment will include fishing ponds, an agriculture center, a pavilion, produce gardens and a farmers market.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.
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