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Last New Homes in West Michigan's First Master Planned Community Expected to Sell

Eastbrook Homes, west Michigan's largest builder and developer, expects to sell the last four single family homes in Bailey's Grove -- west Michigan's first master planned community - within its 10th year of sales. Bailey's Grove is the developer's crown jewel and includes 688 single family homes, 34 stand-alone villa condominiums, and 232 attached ranch and town home condominiums on over 300 acres. Community amenities include walking trails, a wildlife preserve, and a community park and pool.

The inclusion of Endeavor Elementary School, Rainbow Child Development Center, Porter Hills Continuing Care Facility, the Born Preventative Heath Care Clinic and the Shops on 52nd Street on the same parcel of land add to the community's "lifelong address" status and cement Bailey's Grove's position as the first neighborhood of its kind in west Michigan. The flagship community was designed by David Jensen and Associates of Colorado and is testimony that savvy land planning and resource conservation can be integral parts of desirable communities.

Bailey's Grove broke new ground in the west Michigan housing industry and raised the bar by which other communities are evaluated in terms of not only quality of life but better land management practices as well. Mick McGraw, CEO of Eastbrook Homes, conceptualized the Bailey's Grove community years before it opened in 1997. "My dream was to create in west Michigan a neighborhood that lived like a pedestrian-friendly, old-fashioned hometown while also preserving and protecting the natural environment," said McGraw. He also wanted a community where people of various ages and lifestyles live together. At the time the city of Kentwood was one of the fastest growing communities in Michigan and its growth rate raised concerns among city officials relative to traffic management, infrastructure and land use issues in conjunction with the original community plans.

McGraw worked for years with city planners and former Kentwood Mayor and current State Senator Bill Hardiman to address initial concerns and to dispel the myth that all development leads to large lots, wide roads and unnecessary sprawl. The end result of their collaboration was the first west Michigan community to move away from the sterile type of suburban development and embrace curving, narrow streets, cul de sacs, mature entry landscaping and planned green spaces. "I have always been impressed by the beautiful landscape at Bailey's Grove," says Hardiman. "This truly is a wonderful community in which to live." In fact, Bailey's Grove clusters homes in such a way as to create distinct pockets of homes buffered by open spaces, natural areas and community amenities. The 600-student public elementary school allows neighborhood kids to walk to school.

Bailey's Grove has received regional and national attention over the years. Some of the milestones include:

  • In 1997, Eastbrook was cited as a Partner in Water Quality by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for its wise land use in Bailey's Grove.
  • In 1998, Eastbrook received the Fair Housing Award from the Fair Housing Center of Greater Grand Rapids in appreciation for the company's contribution to the progress of fair housing by building an inclusive community within the metropolitan Grand Rapids area. (Town homes, condominiums and homes appeal to everyone from first-time buyers to move-down buyers, and range from 960 to 2833 square feet with corresponding price tags.)
  • Bailey's Grove includes multiple examples of multi-generational living within its borders. The diversity of home product lines means there is something for everyone. Many families have moved in and inspired their siblings and/or parents to join them in order to spend more time together. More than one older couple has purchased in the community in order to visit their resident grandchildren daily.
  • Blessed with a strong sense of country and community, the Eastbrook staff unveiled a monument to freedom within Bailey's Grove on July 10, 2002. The Freedom Circle is contained within the landscaped traffic roundabout near the new 60th Street entrance. The dedication of the 25' illuminated flagpole was the company's way of proclaiming its pride in this wonderful country in which we live and recognizing how fragile and wonderful freedom is.
  • In April of 2003, Eastbrook Homes received an Award of Excellence in the Building With Trees competition sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation for its Bailey's Grove community design.
  • Mick McGraw was awarded the 2003 Conservationist of the Year Award by the local Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA). The annual award recognized him for being a developer with a bold vision and innovative leadership in protecting the environment.

Not only has Bailey's Grove emerged as one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the area, but its existence has had a positive impact on the city of Kentwood as well. Kentwood Mayor Richard Root adds, "I had the privilege of serving on the Planning Commission when the concept was originally introduced and on the City Commission during a large part of the growth. Now, as Mayor, to watch the build-out of Bailey's Grove and the contribution it has made to the overall growth and success of the city of Kentwood affirms the vision and wisdom of Mick McGraw, City Planners and the City Commission. Bailey's Grove in many ways has set the standard for community development."

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