Durham, NC – Village Hearth Cohousing announces their groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, October 29, at 10:30 a.m. for its new cohousing community to be built in Durham, NC. Durham’s Planning Commission unanimously recommended, and the Durham City Council unanimously approved, the required rezoning and annexation for the community in 2017.
The ceremony will take place at the cohousing site, 1000 Infinity Road, and featured speakers will include city officials, professionals involved in the project as well as community members, concluding with a blessing of the land. Future residents will participate in the actual “ground-breaking” as part of the celebration; refreshments will be served. Attendees should plan to arrive early to allow plenty of time for parking.
Located a short 20-minute drive from downtown Durham, Village Hearth will be a lively and supportive 55+ community of lesbians, gay men, straight friends, and allies. Co-founder Pat McAulay says, “It took many of us a lot of time to come out; many LGBTs wind up going back into the closet to safely get the care they need as they age. We want to be able to live comfortably, without having to hide any aspect of ourselves.” Village Hearth is the first LGBT-focused ages 55+ cohousing community in the United States.
Cohousing is a modern take on an old-fashioned village. The physical environment facilitates knowing one’s neighbors while retaining the ability to balance social interactions with privacy and independence with mutual support. Proximity also provides opportunities for greater engagement within the larger community. Efficient design and shared responsibilities simplify maintenance and lowers costs. Legally a condominium complex, each home is privately owned. Common facilities and a sharing culture present opportunities for residents to follow their passions while lowering dependence on cars and driving.
The common house is the heart of the community. An extension of one’s home, it will include an inviting terrace, large kitchen, dining/meeting room, sitting room, laundry, exercise room, and guest room. Community and private gardens, fitness trails, a dog park, fire pit, art studio, workshop, and quiet spaces for visiting or contemplation are planned to dot the natural landscape, with easy access to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the nearby Eno River.
Village Hearth residents look forward to being good neighbors - learning each other’s skills, interests, and passions. They have attracted future residents from across North Carolina and from several other states including California, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maine, Kentucky, and Texas. Gary Ross-Reynolds, from Asheville, NC, says, “My partner Steve and I joined because we were impressed by the people we will be living among, the prospect of aging in place (…the fact that we are pretty isolated here in Asheville), and by the efficiency of the Village Hearth meetings. We were pleased that the architectural team and consultant hired for this project are nationally recognized for their cohousing expertise.”
The project represents a culmination of more than three years of planning. Village Hearth hired Katie McCamant, CoHousing Solutions and Chuck Durrett, McCamant & Durrett Architects, the people who brought the highly successful cohousing concept from Denmark to the US in the late 1980s, to design and guide its development. The two award-winning companies have a strong track record designing dozens of cohousing communities across the United States. Other partners shepherding the project include Louis Goetz, Park City Developments; Dan Jewell, Coulter Jewell Thames (civil engineers); and Kim Vrana, Resolute Building Company.
The group will build 28 accessible, single-story, attached, environmentally-friendly homes, with big front porches and private backyards clustered on one end of 15 beautifully wooded acres, creating a pedestrian-friendly village for residents. Floor plans include one- and two-bedroom homes, ranging from 650 to 1150 square feet, each with a fully equipped kitchen, living, and dining area in the vaulted-ceilinged great room. Construction is expected to begin in November 2018; the anticipated move-in date is late 2019. Twenty-four of the 28 homes are already spoken for.
Future residents participated in the design and development to reflect their needs and priorities, creating a truly custom neighborhood. By combining private homes with a centrally-located clubhouse and extensive shared amenities, they have designed an active and involved community of neighbors who know and care about each other. As architect Chuck Durrett has said, “If it doesn’t work socially, why bother?”
More information about cohousing is available from the Cohousing Association of the United States at www.cohousing.org. Other existing and forming cohousing neighborhoods in the Triangle area of North Carolina include Arcadia Cohousing in Chapel Hill, Elderberry Cohousing in Rougemont, Hart’s Mill Ecovillage & Farm in Mebane, Pacifica Cohousing in Carrboro, and Bull City Commons Cohousing, Durham Central Park Cohousing Community, Eno Commons Cohousing, Solterra, and Weaving Water, all in Durham.
Contact: Pat McAulay