|Introducing myself and my project, EcoVillage of Ithaca, N.Y.||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: anarres!gaarder (anarres!gaarderTC.Cornell.EDU)|
|Date: Mon, 15 Nov 93 01:20 CST|
In answer to the recent call for introductions, I will try to stop being intimidated by the magnitude of the task and write *something* about myself and EcoVillage of Ithaca. Me: A 40-year-old aging hippie and computer hacker with a family and a lovely log house in the middle of nowhere, which means I *drive* almost everywhere. I've been looking for alternatives to the isolation of the nuclear family for years, and, to me, cohousing looks like the best approach yet. Besides, I'm having my midlife crisis and want to do something new and daring. Ecovillage: My standard one-sentence description is "a project to develop a piece of land in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner." The piece of land is 170-odd acres of former farm a little ways outside of the Ithaca, New York city limits. The land is owned by a non-profit corporation, EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI). The plan is to put 5 or 6 cohousing neighborhoods on it, leaving the vast bulk of the acreage open for agriculture, conservation, and recreation. Since a non-profit corporation can't build housing and stay non-profit, a separate entity is working on building the first neighborhood, the First Residents' Group (FRG, immediately dubbed the FRoG), of which yours truly is a very active member. The FRG is like an onion. At its core are 10 or so households who have signed a Joint Venture agreement, plunking down $2k and pledging $6k more. Next layer out are "FRG members" who are paying annual dues of $100 or so and have made a commitment to attend meetings and help out (There are another 10 or so of these, some of whom will probably join the JV soon.) On the outside, looking in, are the "waiting list," who make no particular commitment. We have a steering committee that meets weekly, and assorted other committees; the whole group meets twice a month. The plan is to buy a 30-to-60-acre chunk of land from EVI and get a neighborhood built by the summer of '95, when EVI has to start making land payments. This time constraint is keeping us all quite busy. We have hired a local developer, a husband-and-wife team, as development consultants. This means that they have no equity in the project themselves; rather, we pay them for their expertise. They are very community-oriented and have done quite well so far in adapting to cohousing and group process. We have done a bunch of feasiblity and cost-estimate work, and are about to embark on selecting a development team and putting together a contract with EVI for the land. We will be making our first official presentation to the Town planning board this December, This is way too early given where we are in the design process, but the Town is wondering what we are up to and asked us to appear. There. That is, at least, a beginning. I'll have more to say about some of the stuff we've done and the hurdles we face later. Steve Gaarder gaarder [at] anarres.ithaca.ny.us
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