Driving north on Highway 55, it's not hard to miss Avimor. This self-sustaining community has turned a lot of heads because of how they're constantly planning for the future. Even with COVID-19, it appears growth is full speed ahead.
You could say Avimor is really the first planned community of this scale. General Manager Dan Richter explains.
"I guess building a small town out here when we're finished in a couple of decades, we'll have ten thousand homes on twenty-three thousand acres and fifteen thousand acres open space."
And if you think this year's pandemic has had any effect on how much dirt is being moved, Richter says think again.
"When I did my newest phase, phase nine, I wanted to sell about ten homes, so Saturday morning we start selling them and I wanted to sell ten, maybe fifteen, and by the time the day was over, they were in the mid-forties. When they got to the sales office, people were lined up out front."
Mark Grubert can tell you firsthand what life is like in the hills. Not only does he run the long-anticipated Spring Creek Brewing right at the main entrance, but Mark was the first resident of Avimor way back in 2005.
"It was kind of enjoyable, it was quiet, very relaxing, kind of more laid back. It's gotten a lot busier now, so it really wasn't bad. It's just completely different." And like many business owners in 2020, Grubert does face challenges. "We're hanging in there. We're kind of treading water, get to the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Get through it, but the response has been great. People love the beer and food. They like the vibe. It's kind of a cool place."
Richter believes Mark is a good representation of what the make-up of Avimor is. "Mark was our first one here. All along, he said, 'I want to own a business here.'"
As far as what the future holds, look for even more homes and look for better access for residents to come and go. Richter says traffic flow will benefit everyone.
"We're going underneath the highway, so instead of a stop sign or light, there will be ramps like you're getting on the interstate so it won't slow down traffic on 55. It will also allow people in our community to go under 55, so kids on bikes if they want to go mountain biking on the other side, they don't have to cross the highway."
From recycling their own water to mining their own gravel, which cuts down on trucks driving up 55, to the endless abundance of wildlife and recreation, the folks at Avimor say check us out. And while you're up there, stop into Spring Creek Brewing and ask Mark about the good old days.