Gilbert’s Agritopia village building restaurants and commercial on land

By Parker LeavittThe Republic | azcentral.comFri Aug 9, 2013 12:55 PM A decade has passed since Gilbert’s village-like Agritopia neighborhood welcomed its first residents, and the popular community continues to evolve with plans for a “downtown” center and buildings up to five stories tall. All but one of the subdivision’s 452 residential lots have sprouted […]

By Parker LeavittThe Republic | azcentral.comFri Aug 9, 2013 12:55 PM

A decade has passed since Gilbert’s village-like Agritopia neighborhood welcomed its first residents, and the popular community continues to evolve with plans for a “downtown” center and buildings up to five stories tall.

All but one of the subdivision’s 452 residential lots have sprouted homes, and the twig-like saplings that once lined the streets have matured, providing shade for residents as they navigate winding sidewalks toward Joe’s Farm Grill or the Coffee Shop.

Homeowners say there’s something different about living in Agritopia, located at the northwestern corner of Higley and Ray roads. Community features range from shorter fences that foster interaction with neighbors to regular social gatherings that bring people together, residents say.

Gina Sharpe, whose family was the first to move into Agritopia in May 2003, said she has no plans to leave anytime soon.

“It’s all about the community,” Sharpe said. “I won’t live anywhere else in Arizona if I can help it. If we go somewhere, it needs to be far, far away.”

Residents like Sharpe, who are committed to the Agritopia vision of community, are exactly the type of people developer Joe Johnston hoped would move into the neighborhood built on land that his family cultivated for four decades.

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