Walnut Grove aims to provide traditional neighborhood developmen - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Walnut Grove aims to provide traditional neighborhood development

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It seems like it popped up out of nowhere, but activity on 60 acres on the west end of Sallier Street is more than five years of work and the centerpiece of the future Walnut Grove Development.

"It's a mixed-use community. It will have residential property of various types, various price ranges and also have commercial property," explained Gus Schram III, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Walnut Grove Development, LLC.

According to Schram, it all came about after Hurricane Rita destroyed the Lawton offices in Sulphur. They were already planning a mixed-use development and began looking for a new home for their corporate headquarters. They decided to look to the past and create a traditional neighborhood development.

"It will be a walkable community. Everything will be within a five minute walk. A lot of connectivity in terms of the street layout, walking routes and proximity," explained Schram.

The name Walnut Grove has historic roots to the original Walnut Grove more than 100 years ago.

"The property down the street that is currently the Port of Lake Charles was at one time a recreational destination of sorts for the Lake Area. It was called Walnut Grove and people would meet there to visit, swim and socialize. So, we thought it fitting to connect the future with the past," said Schram. 

The town square will feature the Lawton Building, a large three-story facility that will house businesses. There will also be a grocery market, a restaurant as well as a bank and post office.

Another feature will take a boardwalk through the natural marsh area on the property. Nearby the first of 180 homes are now under construction to give people a flavor of what Walnut Grove will have to offer.

"That area over there is going to give people an idea of what the whole neighborhood is like. It has a little park there and it will be about 12 different types of homes so people get a flavor of what the rest of the neighborhood is going to be like," said Schram.

Schram said most importantly, Walnut Grove is looking to create a sense of real community for the people who will one day live and work there.

"That aspect of community is what neighborhoods always had. I remember when I was young everybody in the neighborhood knew each other. It's that lifestyle of being able to know your neighbors, to do things together. We plan to have a lot of events to bring people together," said Schram.

There are currently about 300 traditional neighborhood developments in the U.S., 15 in Louisiana. They expect it will take seven years to completely finish Walnut Grove.

For information, click here or call 497-0825. 

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