‘A simpler time’

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 11, 2009

Construction is underway for the newest subdivision in the city of Troy, but it could be 15 more years before the final plans reach completion.

That doesn’t mean it will be that long before residents are ready to live in the Oak Park subdivision located off Elba Highway.

Hugh Wheeless, president of Wheeless Development, said some homes have begun the first phase of development in the 150-acre property.

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“There will be 81 lots in phase one,” Wheeless said.

But, ultimately, he envisions the subdivision holding up to 600 families in the land that spans from Elba Highway to behind Lowes on U.S. Highway 231.

Wheeless said a study was done on Troy’s housing market four years ago that showed favorable results for the subdivision’s construction.

However, construction has taken one year longer than originally intended for its beginning.

On Tuesday, Wheeless said he sold seven lots, four homes were under construction and the fifth lot was cleared that day.

Wheeless said the plans for the Oak Park subdivision will include homes, parks and even a shopping area.

But, he said the commercial portion will be in the long-range plans of the development. He said now it’s too early to tell what types of businesses may be recruited to locate in the neighborhood.

Wheeless said with an aggressive timetable, developers will have completed 20 homes a year for three years. Once that is complete, he said they will begin the project’s second phase to construct more homes.

“Normally, what follows in phase two will be when we have 60 or 70 families living there,” Wheeless said.

Wheeless said the lots and homes will vary in size, houses ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 square feet.

Homes will include rear entry garages and driveways, Wheeless said, and the subdivision will have a strict set of covenants and bylaws for its tenants to follow.

The prices will range from $199,000 to $269,000. According to Scott Hendricks, president of the Pike County Board of Realtors, the average home in Troy this year has sold for $142,823.

Wheeless said the vision of the development is getting back to 1920s and 1930s architecture and way of living.

“We want to reflect a time when life was simpler,” Wheeless said. “We’re trying to get back to those gathering places and of going to parks and meeting with neighbors.”

Another part of the company’s development, may include a donation of land to the local school system.

Wheeless said nothing is for certain, but in past subdivisions he has made similar donations.

The city of Troy’s Comprehensive Community Master Plan will build a connector road that will link Enzor Lane and U.S. Highway 231, which will be convenient for residents of The Oak Park.

While Wheeless has high hopes for this development, his enthusiasm hasn’t been met with similar responses.

Earlier in the year, families linked with The Jones Cemetery, near where Wheeless has built Jones Park, filed suit alleging he damaged their land. The suit is still in the discovery phases and is not set for trial at this time.