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Eden Village officials plan to expand the concept across the city.
SBJ file photo
Eden Village officials plan to expand the concept across the city.

Gathering Tree aims for ‘Eden Villages all over the city’

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As Springfield tiny homes development Eden Village wraps up, the organizers of the concept are aiming to bring more residences for homeless people across the city.

Nate Schlueter, chief operating officer for The Gathering Tree’s Eden Village, said after the 31-unit housing project at 2801 E. Division St. is completed this year and it becomes debt-free, the organization will look for land elsewhere in the city to meet the demand. Eden Village does not currently have any other land to build future developments, Schlueter said.

“We’ll continue to build Eden Villages all over the city,” he said, noting they would be named after their geographical locations, i.e. Eden West. “We think there’s about 215 people who sleep outside in Springfield. Eden Village accommodates over 30 of those.

“So we would need to build four more master plan communities.”

At the Division Street community, Eden Village needs to raise roughly $400,000 to become debt-free on the project. Schlueter said organizers are soliciting private donations to meet that goal.

So far, 14 of the planned 31 single-occupancy homes are in place. Two residents have moved in, Schlueter said, noting crews are currently finishing electric work at the other homes.

“Everybody will be moved in and Eden Village will be fully occupied by Christmas Eve,” he said.

The 31st home of the development will be unique to Eden Village.

Fifth-year students at Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture are designing and working with contractors to build a home. The other houses in the development were manufactured by Athens Park Model Homes, Schlueter said, and will be installed in the coming months. The homes cost roughly $30,000, which is funded by sponsors.

He said the Drury students intend to design a tornado-resistant home for a resident hand-picked by Eden Village. The resident, he said, is relatable to the Drury students because he’s around their age and has been homeless since he was 18 years old.

Eden Village, Drury and Jordan Valley Community Health Center officials are scheduled to host an unveiling of the plans tomorrow at the private university. Schlueter said Jordan Valley pledged $30,000 to build the home.

Eden Village officials held a grand opening on Aug. 28 for the 400-square-foot homes.

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