Once the Deere move out, the horses will move in.
New Creation Land Developers, equipped with John Deere machinery, is currently grading a 510-acre site in Blue Ridge, GA, as the future home of Cadence, an equestrian community.
It will include approximately 150 homes for the human residents, as well as barns, an indoor and outdoor arena, 12 to 15 mi. of riding trails and 150 acres of open space for the four-legged residents.
Tom Carroll, Cadence’s developer/owner, expected half of the homes to be vacation homes, with the other half going to full-time residents.
He jumped at the opportunity to purchase this land for the equestrian community, as “there’s not too many areas in Fannin County where there’s large undeveloped acreage.”
Plus, he noted the beauty of the property is well-suited for this type of development, with its rolling hills.
But while the land naturally lent itself to a great site for horse riding, it still needed some tweaking. This was especially true in the 12-acre equestrian area, where crews had to grade a slope approximately 40 ft. from top to bottom.
Equipment Operator Lawrence “Hawk” Grooms said crews are moving approximately 2,200 cu. yds. of material per day.
He said the challenge of the job comes with the movement of so much top soil. Crews have to strip it off, compact the lower layers of dirt and then put top soil back over everything. Compaction is especially important on this development, since the horse traffic will require more solid ground.
Carroll said the John Deere machines, which were purchased from Metrac, “are working great. The operators really like the Deere equipment.”
He said his sales representative, Chris McLean, stays up-to-date on the project and “he does what he says he’s going to do.”
Grooms said he tested out all of the major manufacturers specifically for this job, but looked at some future projects as well.
“There is a more distinctive style of grading,” he said. “We’re going to be doing golf course shaping work after this job where we don’t need to tear up all the land. We simply need to clear and keep everything groomed neatly. That’s why I wanted machines that not only could do the bulk work, but are also excellent grooming machines for shaping.”
Grooms said the Deere machines are able to rip roots out of the ground and rake the material well enough so it’s ready for the grinder.
He was primarily in the cab of a John Deere 750JLT dozer with a ripper and root rake on the front and dual rippers in the back. “It is probably the best shaping machine on the market.”
All of the John Deere machines are equipped with GPS capabilities and can be monitored from the contractor’s office or from Metrac.
Construction of the homes and equestrian facilities is expected to begin this fall, with four to five home building firms working at the same time. Carroll said the homes will have a rustic feel and will blend in well with the surrounding area. Some will include reclaimed barn wood, a growing trend in the region over the past couple of years.
All of the mulching and grinding is being done on-site with the aid of a Vermeer HG6000. New Creation demoed four different models before making this purchase and Grooms said the Vermeer produced cleaner mulch and seemed to require less maintenance. Crews are using mulch berms instead of silt fences for the project to eliminate the expense of installing and removing the fences.
For more information, visit www.cadenceblueridge.com. CEG Staff