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Drake Farm development, likened to the Village of Providence, moves closer to reality

HUNTSVILLE – Hays, Jones and Drake. Three family names of historical significance in the development of Huntsville’s southern rim. They were three tree-ringed fields full of cows and crops, barns and hay bales.

Those things are still there to some degree, at least in the Jones Valley neighborhood and the namesake farm, but progress has overtaken a large portion of it. Hays Farm remains fluid as construction there continues, and Drake Farm will soon undergo a facelift as well.

At the recent regular meeting of the Huntsville City Council, an ordinance was approved to zone 88.78 acres at the intersection of Cecil Ashburn Drive and Old Big Cove Road for the tentatively named Village at Drake Farm.

“I would just note that there are members of the Drake family here and this is a pretty historic thing,” Councilwoman Dr. Jennie Robinson of District 3 said. “This is kinda like the Hays in South Huntsville when they decided to sell their family farm. The Drakes are selling their family farm, and it will have as much of an impact in that area as the Hayes property has had on South Parkway.”

The zoning ordinance allows for a mix of attached and detached housing with proximity to shopping, work, recreation and businesses.

“I’ll just echo what Dr. Robinson said,” said Council President David Little. “For me, being new up here (on the council) and being kind of on the sidelines and watching this go from an idea to this stage, it’s been a kick in the pants. I look forward to seeing what happens. Some of our planners have mentioned how this will be transformative. The folks out in that part of the community have been looking for something like this, some amenities that keep them from driving over the mountain.

“So, I think it’s gonna be great. I look forward to watching it progress.” 

The walkable village will have shops, cafes and small businesses as well as loft apartments surrounding the village center. A village park system features indigenous plant-life and a restored Big Cove Creek. The village will connect to the regional greenway system at Blevins Gap Nature Preserve to the west and Big Cove Creek Greenway to the east.

Little held a town hall meeting in July that featured representatives of T2 Capital Management, Urban Design Associates, Schoel Engineering and Matheny-Goldmon Architecture + Interiors.

 

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