ARCANUM — The skies were ominous Friday morning but the rain held off just long enough to get through the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Harvest Fields housing development in Arcanum.
The housing development has been a twinkle in the village’s eye for years, initially conceived just as the economy went into a nosedive and left to lie fallow but not forgotten until just about a year ago.
“I looked at it probably eight, nine, 10 years ago, and we decided, ‘no,’” said Chuck Benanzer, president of Benanzer Custom Homes. But when he looked at the site again about a year ago at the urging of Bob Nelson, of Berkshire Hathaway Homes Services, he knew it was time.
According to the Office of Research at the Ohio Services Development Agency, there were a total of 38 residential housing units built in Darke County in 2014, said Darke County Chamber of Commerce President Sharon Deschambeau. The Harvest Fields project alone intends to build 38 homes.
The site is located off West North Street.
“We need homes,” said County Commissioner Mike Rhoades. “Arcanum’s a good place to bring your family.”
Kent James, president and CEO of Greenville National Bank, said the project is “the beginning of our new cycle,” as the county rebounds from the economic slump of recent years.
Nelson could not contain his enthusiasm as the housing development made its official public debut.
“This baby’s alive!” Nelson said, adding that construction is underway on three houses already. “I can assure you, you will be proud of what they (Benanzer) build here.
“And if you’ve ever wanted to live on Sesame Street, it’s the first street on the left.”
Arcanum Village Administrator Bill Sinnes explained the development is a Community Reinvestment Area, so improvement of the property — construction of a home — means a significant break on property taxes for five years.
“Darke County has a low unemployment rate and many of our businesses are expanding and hiring employees,” said Deschambeau. “Having affordable and new residential housing that is available to those prospective employees is attractive. Hopefully this will provide incentive for families to make the move to Darke County.”
Deschambeau said, “The Darke County Chamber was pleased to host a groundbreaking for Chuck Benanzer and Derrick Robinson of Benanzer Construction. All of the participants in the Harvest Fields project in Arcanum are chamber members and that makes this especially meaningful.”
For additional information about the development, visit the Benanzer website at www.benanzer.com or phone 937-548-5053.
Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA