Thursday, January 18, 2007
Residential development rockets at Kirkwood
By SUE WATSON
One of Holly Springs’ little known secrets is that a new community is springing up at Kirkwood National Golf Club.
The development is not a new concept, but it is new for Holly Springs, said architect Bill Wage, who was the third person to build a home at Kirkwood several years ago.
“Residential mixed in and around a golf course is popular and two close by are Cherokee Valley and Plantation golf courses at Olive Branch,” he said.
“It’s a very, very popular thing to do,” Wage said, adding that Kirkwood National is considered by golfers as one of the best and most challenging courses around.
“Most everybody out here loves golf and the setting.”
The first home at Kirkwood was built by Gene and Cindy Lanier. Teddy and Sally Bryant bought the second home built by Keith and Cindy Kail.
Then Vivian Smith, the fourth one to build at Kirkwood, located in a spot where she can see two fairways.
“We are on fairway two,” Wage said. “Deer graze through the fairways every morning and afternoon and flocks of turkey are seen often on the fairway, as well. And there are a lot of birds.”
Every hole has at least two bluebird houses, and the fledgling count is kept by Al Klomps.
The bluebird project was undertaken through a joint effort with Strawberry Plains Audubon in Holly Springs.
The bluebird was nearing extinction but is making a comeback, partly due to partnerships like the one at Kirkwood, Wage said.
“It’s lovely out here and very, very quiet and a wonderful environment,” he said.
Klomps said the Bluebird Trail project with Kirkwood owner Greg Barkley and the Audubon Society was an offshoot of his hobby of building bluebird houses. He started building them for his neighbors at Kirkwood first, then Audubon came in and provided the materials for more houses.
So far, Klomp has built and put up 54 bluebird houses at Kirkwood and last year the fledgling count was 250, he said.
One of the homeowners who got in on Phase I residential development at Kirkwood, Betty Byrd, said she loves living there.
“I was the eighth house built out there,” she said. “I feel like I’m living in paradise. It’s the beauty of the golf course, the wildlife. And we can walk or run on the cart paths.
“I’ve had every kind of wildlife experience from skunks to bobcats - you name it. It’s just beautiful out there.
“I feel like I’m in a gated community. You just feel secure.”
Activity at the golf course has picked up, too, Byrd said.
“I don’t know if the people of this county know how many golfers come through in a day and how far people travel to play that course,” she said.
“I’m not a golfer, but they say it’s a very challenging course to play. And a lot of golf tournaments are held there.”
Byrd said she and husband Terry sold their acreage and home on Highway 7 South after her mother moved in following the death of her father and was having to live upstairs.
Other factors coming into play were a smaller acreage to keep up and a very suitable offer for her former home, she said.
Other homeowners at Kirkwood include Harvey and Edie Haggard, who were the fifth builders, John Paige, the sixth, Mark and Lisa Anderson, the seventh, and Jerry Stage, the ninth.
Home construction is on fire again at Kirkwood, with five new homes constructed and two more started, Wage said.
As neighborhoods fill up with residents, Wage said a homeowners association will be formed.
“We will start acting like a real village,” he said.
Part of the success at Kirkwood Estates is the availability of city services - lights, gas and water - which was expanded several years ago by the Holly Springs Utility Department.
A second secret is that homeowners can expect their investments to be protected by the design and review committee which approves every house plan.
The plan has to meet certain criteria, Wage said.
The brick, roof, windows, and exterior trim color, as well as landscaping and site plan has to be approved. The floor plans and exterior elevations must also be approved before construction.
“We feel like that helps protect everybody’s investment and keeps standards high,” Wage said.
Other subtle elements also help make each street unique. The mailboxes on a given thoroughfare are of the same design and after neighborhoods are more filled, the lightposts and sidewalks will be added.
Kirkwood is undergoing phased development so lot sizes and square footage requirements will vary.
The size range of homes on the ground today vary between 1,600 to 3,500 square feet, but estate homes are expected to be asked for eventually.
“It looks like Kirkwood Estates has got its legs, now, and the course has a lot of play out here,” Wage said. “People are really starting to discover the club. It’s one of the nicer courses and Holly Springs is very fortunate to have a course of this caliber.”
Kirkwood National also has cottages for rent and caters for weddings, church groups, family reunions, and large meetings that take place in Holly Springs.
Wage said the availability of cottages for golf packages and other occasions adds to the total tourism business in the city.
The partnership between Kirkwood and the Audubon Society to foster the comeback of the blue bird was undertaken about five years ago, according to director Madge Lindsay with the society.
Kirkwood was an ideal habitat to rebuild the bluebird populations, she said, because blue birds like pasture-like areas and nest in cavities like old fence posts and woodpecker holes.
“Al Klomps has gone to a lot of trouble to add guards to keep snakes and other predators from getting the eggs,” Lindsay said. “We’d (Audubon) like to see homeowners to leave some native trees in their yards. Audubon encourages native trees because they are more hardy.”
Development fired up recently
Greg Gresham, one of the members of the design review committee for Kirkwood Estates, said the sale of homes at Kirkwood has been long awaited.
The golf course opened around 1995, and the first home built there was the Laniers’, he said.
“In the past six or seven months, it has really started to take off,” he said.
Gresham Realty markets the lots for the entire Kirkwood Estates development, he said.
Out of the 112 lots that have been developed, there are only 21 remaining unsold, according to Greg Barkley, managing member of Kirkwood Estates Development.
Down the road about 400 acres of residential development could come into play with potential for an estimated 600 homes within Kirkwood Estates itself.
Kirkwood offers a combination of a country setting and recreation - a little bit of both worlds there, he said.
Although many buyers are looking to build customized homes, some spec homes are available from individual builders, he said.
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