Cedar Valley Times
by Faith Ann Brown
VINTON - John Anderson, Vinton, first came up with the idea of a housing development in the community he’s called home his entire life. When the idea of the development was presented to Vinton city officials, John Ketchen, Vinton, was the person that made that initial contact and laid out the ultimate goal of the project.
Through a series of negotiations Anderson entered an exchange with the Virginia Gay Foundation, transferring the property south of the high school with property held by the Foundation.
“It’s taken a year of work of a lot of hard work by a number of individuals to get the exchange completed and the proper documentation in place,” Matt Johnson, Cedar Valley Bank, explained last week. “There have been a number of moving parts between the Flechner Farm Trust, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the school district.”
All parties involved were firm on the idea of the development taking shape in this way, as opposed to donating property to the city.
"Every city has certain rules and guidelines that it must follow," Johnson explained. "John Anderson and others didn't want to see any more time go by before something got started." One unique feature about the development is the names of the streets. While many in the community are familiar with streets running east to west and avenues going north to south, Anderson Creek will have street names of Homecoming Court, Viking Drive and Blue Jay Avenue.
With the many hours spent putting all the pieces in place, construction began earlier this spring for the infrastructure for the first 33 lots in the addition. Johnson stated that construction on a model home should begin soon. “The basement should be dug in the next month. We have several local contractors who have signed up to be involved in the project.” He added that both REC and Alliant will also be involved with the project to get utilities hooked up to the model home.
“At this point we’ve had interest from individuals about purchasing specific lots,” Johnson added. Construction should begin by late summer or early fall. With a variety of lot sizes available and price ranges to work with Johnson expects lots to go quickly in the area. With an open development like Anderson Creek, individuals purchasing a lot will have the flexibility of working with whom they wish. "They have no set development/construction firm that we are working with," Johnson explained. "They're giving the buyer that flexibility to work with someone they are comfortable with and know." It would be ideal that homes would be constructed on any of the purchased lots within 18 months of sale date.
With work starting to take shape, the farm trustees are expecting interest in purchasing a lot to increase. People are encouraged to talk to either Johnson or Emily Sadler at Cedar Valley Bank & Trust, Vinton. These two individuals are acting as the point of contact for the Flechner Farm Trustees and can submit an offer to the farm trustees for approval. "Buyers can also work with their realtor of choice to submit a purchase offer to Cedar Valley Bank," Johnson added. "This makes it easy to track lots sold or pending closing.”
Growth in the community will be a benefit for all. “All the parties involved want to see our community grow,” Johnson stated. Lots are priced to sell “and all proceeds from the sale will go back toward the construction costs of the infrastructure. "With the interest that has been expressed, we don't believe that it will take long for the first 33 lots to be sold and for to open up the second additional of the project."
Using monies collected from Vinton's TIF districts, the Trust will be able to pay for the infrastructure in the area.
Both Vinton city officials and the Vinton Shellsburg school district were approached and asked if the timeline for the collection of the funds could be extended from 10 years to 15 years. A nod of approval was given by both entities for the funds additional five years.
As Rob Levis, VS school board president, said at the time of the request, "we are being asked to give up funds that we wouldn't be getting if the development wasn't being built to begin with."