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Agrarian community continues forward

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Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 3:00 pm

Despite a quiet front in recent months, progress on the Elgin Agrarian Community is ongoing. 

Developer of the community Sean Garretson said he is searching for the final piece of equity on the project, but that the status of the community, planned for a 24-acre parcel of land off of Louise and Lexington Streets in Elgin, is still on. 

“It’s still very much a teed-up project and ready to go,” Garretson said. 

The master plan for the community is to have 80 modestly-sized homes, a 3.5 acre farm and other amenities for residents to enjoy. 

Garretson said he’s been working on this project for about two and a half years now, and about $1 million has been spent on the land, engineering, permitting and marketing for the co-op community. 

To date, Garretson said they have two different house designs that have been approved for permits by the city, while a site development plan is mostly finished, but hasn’t been submitted to the city for final approval yet. 

At the start of this project, Garretson said there were 22 buyers with deposits, but over the course of the development, that number currently sits at 15. 

In terms of the property development, mesquite trees have been eradicated from the land, while two cover crops have been planted to help break up the soil. 

Another aspect of the development is the restoration of the Mary Christian Burleson homestead, which will eventually be a one-acre parcel owned by the Mary Christian Burleson Foundation as part of a development agreement. Garretson explained that there were certain terms laid out for the foundation to meet, including fundraising to help restore the homestead, several goals of which have been achieved already. 

“They are ahead of us for sure,” Garretson said. “I’m really excited for the progress they’ve made with that.” 

Garretson is in talks with banks around Elgin to secure the last phase of funding for the project, about $2 million. A deal was in place, but fell through right before Christmas, holding up progress, Garretson said. 

While a brewery was part of the original plans, Osmo’s Daughter Brewery has put their plans to be involved with the project on hold, Garretson said, although he said there is another brewery interested. 

Garretson said if there is one thing he has learned with this project, it’s that projects don’t always stick to the original timeline, however, if the final part of funding is secured in the next three months, the community could see the construction of roadways and house in the three months following, with people moving in next spring. 

“We’ll see how that works,” Garretson said.

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