Saturday, August 2, 2008

"There's Still Money"

Here are more answers to questions from people, and the big message is, There Is Still Money. If you are concerned about whether or not Belvedere is floundering, don't worry about your investment. Things have had to change somewhat, with staff and timeline changes, but the big message is all is well (or better than well, actually, Great!)

Stonehaus Development Manage LJ Lopez came and spent time with me yesterday, the day after move-in and explained a few things. It is easy to look at this unfinished place and see a project not complete or threatening to fail, but actually the opposite is true. Here are few explanations, as I understand them:

The Storm Water Park is still going to happen, but the drainage will look raw for awhile. There is a large sediment catchment area because there is huge run-off from the lots that don't have sod. Actually Josh Goldschmidt explained the value of sod to me yesterday. So, just take a deep breath and look beyond the muddy water to the tree lined path beside the levels of water and small fountains in the Stonehaus plans. That is still online for the neighborhood.

As is the Civic Core, and Belvedere's commitment to the community and the arts. The Civic Core includes the Village Green, where this fall there will be several events. SOCA is in process and committed to building the indoor facility. The other parts of the Core include the Town Hall and the Montessori School, all still planned and in the queue for building. The residents of Belvedere are going to be, in part, responsible for the programs and what is going to happen on the Village Green but I know Stonehaus is planning on music and movies. And after talking with people interested in living in Belvedere, there will be many more interesting things that might happen here.

The Organic Garden is still going to happen, and Stonehaus is going to send out more information about that this fall. They want to wait to promote until the gardeners get in there and begin to "do something" (as it was explained to me), and actually, that garden amenity has turned out better than they anticipated.

I am unsure about the Retail and Commercial Space, more the timeline than the content. I am reassured that there are many interested parties who want to support that space. We just need to move down the timeline a bit.

For those of you who came out and talked with me about the plans (not just LJ), I thank you for your honesty. LJ in particular made it clear that Stonehaus will stay with the process and will not abandon the project, and wants to more of a presence than most "development companies." I imagine that many a development firm who would want to be a part of something like Belvedere. So Belvedere remains the green gem it was designed to be, and there are peaks and valleys within the process of making it real. (Sometimes the peaks and valleys can occur on the same day, my hat off to you Churchill and Hauser for staying solid.) I have definitely felt those peaks and valleys, and bear witness to what this time in our history is doing to the perspective of so many people.

My advice to those reading the blog interested in buying a home here is to talk with many people, particularly Josh Goldschmidt, Greg Slator, my realtor, Jim Duncan, and any of the pioneer families here. This is an urban design that doesn't have much precedent.

As yes, I'm Still Tracking! And I was just down near the Zone yesterday. I am into my third season on the land here. There is someone caretaking down there, I saw the chain saw work. The floodplain vegetation is higher than myself. I just felt so grateful. Having lived connected to land, I know that it takes years to get to know and understand its patterns. I will be full circle here next winter (February), and then I can start to map and identify species and patterns. It takes time. As I ran by the field, a deer jumped into the path ahead of me, out of a line of green reeds about 6 feet high. That place is rich with wildlife and plants, and I look forward to being in relationship with that more-than-human world.

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