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From Land Development Today magazine

Developer Teams with Conservation Group
Friday, February 10, 2006

(February 10, 2006) Tryon Farm leads the way for conservation subdivisions and land stewardship.

Ed and Eve Noonan are developers.

The Noonan's, though, don't fit the stereotype of the get-rich-and-run developer that many members of the media and general public slap on the development community.

Their Tryon Farm development in Michigan City, Indiana is a conservation subdivision that preserves 120 of the property's 170-acres.

"Tryon Farm was a dairy farm that for a century was a terrific place to live. It's still a farm. What we've tried to do is fit the homes into the landscape without intruding. Many properties invite this kind of development that enables all owners to share the natural beauty. The usual alternative imposes a grid that does not preserve the special places, rather it destroys them," says Eve Noonan

"Normalization", says Ed Noonan, a Chicago based architect, "is what needs to happen. Now that a precedent has been set, I would like to see developers look at Tryon Farm and other similar projects and say, 'yeah, this is not a big economic risk."

Noonan's interest in creative reuse is long term. He has a small 1960 Airstream trailer on the roof of his office building for the use of architects and tenants in the building as a place to work away from phones or to be an outdoor escape for lunch in nice weather.

"I want to make people feel safer in pursuing such projects that may have seemed risky before and are now proving successful for those that live in them...and for Mother Nature and the developer's pocketbook," says Ed Noonan.

The couple, advocates for conservation design, is sponsoring a new brochure for the Milford, Michigan non-profit organization LandChoices to spread the word about conservation subdivisions and to help change how land is developed in America, showing that land development can save land and still be profitable. LandChoices is a national organization that promotes conservation subdivision design and other land preservation choices.

"There is ever increasing interest in finding ways to save land and to build on it with respect," says Eve Noonan, who along with her husband Ed, serve on LandChoices' Advisory Group. "Often people with property or people planning to build are not aware that development can respond to that interest and need.

LandChoices' agenda is spreading the word that conservation design is possible for the small landowner, the big developer, and those in between. That is the reason we chose to help support their mission. As conservation design advocates at Tryon Farm we are grateful that Kirt (Manecke) is getting the word out to people who will make the difference in how we live and assume stewardship of our land."

"The Noonans have been terrific," says Michigan resident Kirt Manecke, the founder and president of LandChoices. "I am grateful for their very generous contribution that will help fund 10,000 full color brochures to spread our message to a larger audience. Many people are hesitant to get involved when a group is just getting started, preferring to wait until things are more established and less risky. The Noonans have been very involved with LandChoices from day one and that is one major reason the organization is growing."


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