anniversary update (long)
From: Virginia Moreland (vmorelandmindspring.com)
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 12:49:01 -0600
Someone suggested that folks send updates on their birthdays or community
anniversaries, so that spurred me to bring the list up to date on doings in
Atlanta.

East Lake Commons did in fact have their first official meeting in January
of last year, so we can call this our first anniversary.  Things are moving
along nicely for us - the construction loan package is being considered by
several banks and we are guardedly optimistic, but don't want to jinx it!
We now have signed purchase and sale agreements (with 5% down-payments)
from 18 households, after starting out with 12 in early November.
(Additional 5% due when framing of one's unit begins.) With some extra help
from one of our members, we've also just acquired a vacant house and empty
lot which we badly needed; it will provide more privacy for our community
entrance and an on-site office (after a little renovation.)  Weather gods
and bank officers cooperating, we'd like to break ground in February, start
framing in April and have our first move-ins this summer.

For those who haven't heard this story before and are curious about the
speedy timeline, we are working with a non-profit development corporation;
the developer had found and purchased the land quite some time prior to
that first official meeting last January.  We've had to work through some
difficult issues of trust and control in the "developer-facilitated"
cohousing model.  Some people dropped out, but those of us who have stayed
and put up some serious money have moved on to a new level of commitment
and collaboration.

We still have only two households with small children, but there are
several more who are close to joining, and the parental units are putting a
great deal of energy into outreach and cultivation of prospect families.  
The completed cohousing group in Lake Claire has been very supportive.
They kindly loaned us their common house for a Friday night in December so
we could have our first real East Lake Commons party.  I believe they have
at least one member on the coho list, so I should let them do their own
update, but we have noted with interest that their units have appreciated
very quickly in just the year or so since they've been in place.  (They are
in a very desirable intown neighborhood, and adjacent to a small public
land trust.)  

Issues we're working on right now include specifying some upgrades and
options for the units, trying to agree on a name for our street (thank
goodness we already have the community named!), beginning to interview
farmers so we can get our organic gardens and CSA going this spring, and
trying to iron out some of our internal organizational procedures.  Oh
yeah, and researching the very controversial issue of whether or not to
build a swimming pool! We also need to refine the plan for the first common
house very soon, and of course marketing efforts continue.

I've also neglected to mention here that the Atlanta Journal Constitution
ran a very nice article about our project -  it was Monday, December 22,
1997, page E3 in their "Horizon" section, which is a weekly business
section which focuses on real estate and community development.  

Finally, we have an evolving website with lots of photos, a site plan, etc.
which you're invited to visit:
http://members.aol.com/elakecmmns

Regarding the viability of cohousing-l, I plead guilty to sometimes not
keeping up, sometimes replying privately to posts, and often "not getting
around" to posting a question we have.  I will rectify the latter shortly.
(All it took was a terrible cold to keep me home from work to get this one
out.)

Ginny Moreland
moreland [at] mindspring.com;  404-622-8187
Future owner of unit 105, East Lake Commons, Atlanta, Georgia
Where 16 townhouses (2 to 4 BR) and 1 fully accessible 2 BR flat are still
available in Phase I, with prices ranging from approximately $86,000 to
$150,000.  Average purchase price so far has been about $110,000.      

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