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Sustainable Living Through New Bradenton Community, Garden

Sustainable living is celebrated at Neal Communities through its newest offering, Central Park at Lakewood Ranch, as well as a progressive project underway across the street.

Neal collaborated with Bruce Williams Homes on the 800-home Central Park project. The six neighborhoods are named for historic and popular urban parks across the country: Miami's Brickell Park, New York's Gramercy and Claremont parks, Jackson County Missouri's Longview Lake, Atlanta's Piedmont Park and St. Louis' Forest Park. Homes are Green Built and celebrate rather than overpower the natural surroundings. According to Neal, price points are in what the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index considers the most affordable in 18 years. Homes in the Central Park community start at $126,990.

The gated community's focal point is a 10-acre park with a softball field, tennis courts, children's splash park, dog parks, picnic areas, gazebos, gardens, fountain, walking area and an abundance of green space.

Directly across the street from Central Park are six acres of land set aside for Smart Farm of Lakewood Ranch, a project spearheaded by four moms on a mission who appealed to Rex Jensen, CEO of Schroeder Manatee Ranch Inc., which owns the land on which Neal Communities builds its neighborhoods.

The project has organized as a 501c(3) nonprofit entity and plans to provide the community and general public with educational opportunities and fresh produce. "Our first priority is education," says Jaden Hair, a Lakewood Ranch mom whose research and enthusiasm set the project in motion. "We want to provide hands-on opportunities in an educational setting for school children -- an education center for moms to take their kids to. And we plan to sell our produce to public and local restaurants."

The six acres have been fenced, and Phase 1 will be underway in October 2010.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Jaden Hair, Smart Farm

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