The golf course will be ready before the first home, so the ribbon cut this past week to open a new Columbia County community stretched between two pine trees overlooking the first green.
The Bartram Trail community, a 900-acre development near Patriots Park, received a ceremonial sendoff Monday with environmentally friendly overtones.
The midday luncheon - including a bowlful of granola-topped yogurt - featured an Earth Day theme, complete with comments from Lewiston Elementary School science teacher Brett Cooper. Cooper applauded the community for preserving 200 acres of green space.
"We're strongly committed to nature," said Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate Co. President Thomas M. Blanchard Jr. "We are about the business of developing real estate in a reasonable fashion with respect for the environment."
The project's golf course, set to open in July, will be built and operated by the nonprofit Bartram Trail Community Development Corp. Financed through a U.S. Department of Agriculture bonding deal with the Columbia County government, the course in 30 years will become public property owned by the county.
Homes in the project, developed by Euchee Creek Investors Inc. and constructed by a short list of private builders, are already under construction in the first of five phases, Blanchard said. The first home is scheduled for completion in September, he added.
Home design and materials are tightly restricted in the community, and a portion of the proceeds from each home sale of $200,000 to $600,000 will finance the Bartram Trail Wilderness Trust. The trust, according to a Blanchard and Calhoun fact sheet, will guide the planning process for natural areas of the development, including creation of nature trails, picnic pavilions and outdoor classrooms.
The entire development is expected to take eight to 10 years to complete, Blanchard said, "depending on what the market gives us."
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