Disappointed Neighbors are Hopeful after New Developer Buys Property

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. -- When many neighbors moved into a subdivision just outside of Harrisonburg, they were promised a neighborhood complete with stores, walking trails and much more, but that never happened. On Wednesday, they may have been closer to getting what they were promised when a new developer bought the property.

It's called the Preston Lake subdivision and it's on the border of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County by Route 33.

A layout of the property shows a section developed with houses and another area that was supposed to include stores. There is currently nothing in that second area. One neighbor said she hopes the new developer will change that.

Dixie Ashby said her family was the first one to move into the Preston Lake subdivision.

"Stores that we could walk to, a fitness center, walking trails, swimming pool. There's supposed to be a clubhouse out in this area, so that's kind of what we were hoping for," said Ashby during an interview with WHSV in 2008.

She said, back then, she was excited to live in a new urban neighborhood with lots to offer. Now, a few years later, Ashby and her neighbors have yet to see any stores.

The bank foreclosed on part of the property and all that's left are some houses, surrounded by a lot of undeveloped land.

A WHSV reporter returned to that neighborhood on Wednesday to speak with Ashby. Ashby described what it was like to never see some of the things she was promised.

"We were very disappointed. We had hoped that the building would be able to continue at some point and we were concerned about how long it would take."

Now, Michael Companies in Maryland has purchased the residential property that was foreclosed. That company already owns part of the commercial land by Route 33.

Brian Goldstein, the vice president of development, said they haven't built any stores because they were waiting for the Southeast Connector to be complete.

"Now that they're moving forward with that final piece that connects to Route 33, we'll follow up with our commercial shopping center there, so that's kept us on hold since really 2004, but now we'll start to move forward with that," said Goldstein.

Ashby has been patiently waiting for the commercial building to move forward.

"So we're very hopeful that things are going to pick up, that people will see activity out here and will want to live out here," said Ashby.

The Rockingham County administrator said once the Southeast Connector is complete, it will be easier for the developer to build stores in that subdivision.

The developer also plans to meet with homeowners on Jan. 8th to discuss what's next for the neighborhood.

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