ICI Homes Announces Groundbreaking of 46-Acre Tortoise Reserve at Oakmont

Press release from ICI Homes

Oakmont, one of Gainesville’s premier master-planned communities, will host a groundbreaking ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. on February 24th where the developer and local officials will gather at the entrance of the reserve to commemorate the occasion.

“The groundbreaking is an important milestone for the Oakmont community,” said Joe Blanco, north Florida division manager for ICI Homes. “Not only will the reserve continue to provide sanctuary for gopher tortoises, it will also serve as a passive amenity and learning opportunity for the Oakmont residents.”

Having undergone a recent enhancement, the 46-acre reserve will include over two miles of natural walking paths, a pedestrian-friendly bike rack, and informational signage that describes the local wildlife and habitat.

“Natural areas situated near residential communities, such as the Oakmont Tortoise Reserve, not only provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species, they also provide opportunities for people to view and learn about the local habitats that sustain them,” said professor Mark Hostetler. The developer consulted with the professor from the department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, IFAS, University of Florida, who provided educational content that will be displayed within the reserve.

The Oakmont community, which opened in 2014, features homes by five preferred builders, including the developer, ICI Homes, along with Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Barry Bullard Homes, Jeffrey M. Wilde, and Tommy Waters Custom Homes. Plans range in size from 1,500 square feet to 10,000-square feet. Single family homes start from the low $300s, and custom estate homes start from the low $400s to more than $2 million. 

As a family-friendly community, Oakmont comes equipped with playground areas, a state of the art amenity center that includes a resort-style swimming pool with lap lanes, a multi-purpose field, and tennis courts.  Additionally, the community is within walking distance of a new elementary school slated to open in September of 2021. Oakmont is only fifteen minutes away from the University of Florida, located at 11701 Southwest 30th Avenue in Gainesville, Florida. For more information, call (844) 886-4579 or visit www.OakmontFL.com.

  • Here’s a calculation that reflects the absurd costs associated with home ownership in Alachua county that can be directly contributed to the ever-changing regulations and restrictions placed on developers that get PASSED on to the potential homeowner. Don’t forget taxes have to paid as well. Utility rates… don’t even ask.

    Affordable housing? Who is leadership really fooling?

    $200 per square foot for a 1500 square foot home. Next time you consult with Ken Cornell who happens to be one of the beneficiaries of such costs of home ownership, ask him if he might be willing to forego part of his commission for assisting you with home ownership.

    You have to love the hypocrisy.

  • Just to put it in a little more perspective…a tortoise can live in a neighborhood next to a $2,000,000 home but thanks to some, a working couple can barely afford a roof over their heads for themselves and their children.

    Gotta love the priorities.

    • Oakmont is full of young couples with small kids. A developer that foregoes some property development to provide protection for Native Floria species is indeed demonstrating priorities.

      • Glad you mentioned the “many small kids” in Oakmont. Aren’t there many small kids in Eastwood Meadows? Holly Heights? Duval Heights? Mighty smart tortoises they have in western Alachua county…they can tell the difference from one neighborhood to another.

        Let’s get back to the real issue of the hypocrisy regarding Alachua county/city of Gainesville development. The commissions speak with forked tongues regarding affordable housing and urban sprawl, (amongst other things), but we’ll save that for future discussions. The commissions control the developments and only if a developer is willing to sacrifice profits for green space is a developer issued the zoning and permits for such development. The continued purchases of “green space” by the county and city combined with the high percentage of land owned and being bought/given to UF causes a direct increase in costs of home ownership in Alachua County.

        There are many areas east of Main Street that provide development opportunities but for some reason those areas are rarely discussed or recommended. Even the “woke” populace do not push for a medical facility to meet the needs of the eastern side of the county. Perhaps not only can the turtles tell the difference between neighborhoods but maybe the residents of eastern Alachua county never get sick. I hope you understand my point. It’s not that I feel there shouldn’t be protections for native species and I feel every child deserves a safe place to enjoy their neighborhoods…what I’m saying is that current leadership has and continues to do, except when it’s the PC thing to do, is forget the residents of eastern Gainesville and Alachua county whom they claim so much to care for.

        Need more proof? “Thirty Years in the Making, Alachua County Fairgrounds Move From Gainesville to Newberry” – story from WUFT. The county bought the property for $3,800,000 in 2019. They’ve invested, according to the report, $8,000,000 since then. That’s $11,800,000 spent for an equestrian center. I think equestrian has something to do with horses and livestock.

        Here’s the fun part…how much money do you think Gainesville or Alachua county has provided to less fortunate neighborhoods who need internet, housing, lower utility rates, etc…? Yet they want to continue, Gainesville more than Alachua county, to increase or impose more taxes to pay for their “feel good” projects. Since when is a horse or a tortoise of more value than a person?

  • Realtruth, Brevity would improve your point, but if I got it, it was our elected leaders need to take better care of our lower-income neighborhoods. Amen! But using this turtle preserve as a segue is off the mark, as I think it was paid for by a developer at little cost. BTW the nearby residents had no input at all. But look just across Parker Road at the GRU’s spending millions of dollars to install a wastewater recovery park adjacent to a sports park, across from a new school, and close to homes, and go for it: money better spent tending those you are advocating for.

    • Mr. Whitley, I think it was pretty concise and to the point. It’s not the costs of the “tortoise preserve” that are the greatest contributing factors to the high cost of home ownership in Alachua county. Although the residents may or may not have advocated for such a preserve, believe me when I say that the costs of “lost” development does have a higher impact to the homeowner. It’s commonly used by insurance companies in pricing their products. The premiums are split amongst their clients which therefore allows for a lower premium. More clients = lower premium. Less clients = higher premiums. More homeowners = lower costs, less homeowners = higher costs. Same can be said for county taxes, less tax base = higher tax for residents…I’m not going to insult your intelligence, I think you get the picture. It is the mandates and requirements imposed by local leadership combined with high taxes and governmental owned properties that cause ownership difficulties for the “less affluent.”

      I think that you, as many, miss my point of emphasis on the hypocrisy that line the halls within city and county leadership. They shouldn’t be speaking with such adoration for the underserved when in reality, they don’t really care as long as they get their “fuzzy rub” from those who are either blind or too ignorant to recognize the “real truth” in their ways. I do hope that others view our conversation as well so they may question the disparity of funds utilized for improving the urban sprawl that leadership condemns in one sentence but promotes in their actions.

  • First you compliment your own communication, then you lament that many miss your point! Hello? There is no shortage of acres for development in our county. Your sophomoric examples of supply and demand insult yourself: I will not tutor you in economics 101. And I will not respond to another of your silly posts.

    • Awesome. I’m thankful that you have illustrated how many liberals are not willing to engage in conversation. More than likely due to their inability to actually have a rational or reasonable reason for their beliefs.

      You also chose to show your own reading comprehension. I never said there was a shortage of acreage. My point was the hypocrisy of the acreage that continues to be developed in contrast to county and city leadership’s words. So for people like yourself, as I clearly pointed out, (you know, the ones too blind or ignorant), I chose to make specific mention of such hypocrisy.

      As for Economics 101, I appreciate your sparing me your version of economics. Perhaps if you would have actually taken that class, or paid attention, you would have a greater understanding. I know, the Basket Weaving 101 looked like a sure “A” but not much ROI for it is there? On the bright side of things, if all goes as you’re hoping, the government will pay off those student loans for you.

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