March 1st, 2019

Real estate: Sumner communities designed to support active lifestyles

Original Article by Bill Lewis for The Tennesseean

New homes often come with eco-friendly features that reduce monthly energy and water bills while creating a comfortable environment. In some neighborhoods, those features extend beyond the front door.

Kim Barrett noticed something different about the street lights in Durham Farms, the popular master-planned neighborhood in Hendersonville. Instead of shining light into the sky, they shine downward on the streets and sidewalks.

“Durham Farms is part of the Dark Skies initiative,” a nonprofit organization that works to prevent light pollution and protect the night sky, said Barrett.

The neighborhood also provides recycling, said Barrett, a sales manager for Celebration Homes, one of the builders active in Durham Farms.

Durham Farms also provides water stations for residents who are active outdoors, perhaps riding one of the bicycles that Freehold Communities occasionally gives away, she said.

Freehold developed Durham Farms to meet growing demand for neighborhood that encourage active lifestyles, said Suzanne Maddalon, Freehold’s vice president.

“We’re seeing trends that clearly indicate that more and more families are interested in the concept of healthy living as part of their community,” she said.

Families seek culture of healthy living

That trend began in the 1970s with passage of Title IX, a federal law that had lasting impact by increasing opportunities for women to participate in college sports.

The ripple effect is being felt today in the housing market, as fitness-focused women are influencing family decisions to choose communities that offer a culture of active, healthy living, said Maddalon.

Durham Farms is part of a national trend. Freehold has similar communities in Florida, North Carolina, Texas and California.

Like some other neighborhoods in Sumner County, Durham Farms has shrunk the front and back yards and replaced them with shared open spaces and walking trails. The neighborhood is next to a city park and earlier this year opened The Farmhouse, with a fitness center and other spaces.

“Neighborly connections and the front-porch friendly vibe of our community are the top unique qualities that make up the personality of Durham Farms,” said Lacey Edwards, the community manager who is also a lifestyle director.

The interior of The Farmhouse includes a Wi-Fi café, a conference room and other community spaces.

The interior of The Farmhouse includes a Wi-Fi café, a conference room and other community spaces. (Photo: Chet Frohlich / Durham Farms)

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