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March 13,2017 - Babcock Ranch is open to the public this weekend for the Founder’s Festival.
Charlotte Sun

By ANDREW JAROSH  3/10/2017

STAFF WRITER

Two key features of the Town of Babcock Ranch — a charter school and grocery store — are on track for a July opening.

Work is progressing on Slater’s Goods & Provisions, featuring a coffee shop, takeout items and an ice cream shop, and the kindergarten through eighth-grade Babcock Neighborhood School in Founder’s Square.

Both should be good to go in July, with the school ready for August classes, said Lisa Hall, Babcock’s communications director.

On Wednesday, workers were erecting both buildings across the street from Woodlea Hall, Babcock’s first civic building and the town’s information center. Other construction, including home building, dotted the nation’s first solar-powered town.

Those wanting a closeup of Babcock Ranch will have the chance Saturday and Sunday, when the town opens its arms for Founder’s Fest.

The celebration will include a 5K-race, farmers market, and ribboncutting for the Table & Tap Restaurant, discovery center and Curry Creek Outfitters. Model homes will be open for viewing as well.

While it’s not a grand opening, the weekend’s festivities are an example that the town nearly the size of Manhattan is growing. “But we are letting people know the gate is open and we have lived through the birth of a town,’’ Hall said.

An informal tour Wednesday provided a progress update, construction timelines and preview of coming innovations. The town is designed to accommodate 19,000 residences, a downtown, green spaces, lakes and 50 miles of trails when finally built out 20-25 years from now. When done, it will be home to about 50,000 residents.

There also are more than 73,000 acres dedicated to ranching and farming independent from the town.

A solar energy center is at full generation; water and wastewater utilities are in operation as well. Hall said a health and wellness center, complete with an urgent care facility, is planned for the first quarter of 2018.

These and other amenities are being planned out as residential building continues and the town awaits the move-in of its first homeowners.

Eighteen models from five different builders are part of the first phase of 1,100 homes, according to information from Babcock Ranch.

Single-family homes start in the $300,000 price range.

Hall said Babcock also is bringing in a builder of homes under $200,000.

“I am way excited,’’ Curry Creek Outfitters manager Michael Serfozo said about all that is happening. The store, which has outdoor merchandise and provides rentals of bicycles, kayaks, paddleboards and fishing poles, opened for business Saturday.

Serfozo said the excitement stems from the fact Babcock Ranch isn’t a gated community. It’s open to those who will live there and anybody else who wants to kayak, recreate or just relax.

“It’s open to the public,’’ he said.