Aiming for a new concept
By MIKE ZLOTNICKI, Staff Writer
Jon Gatewood has visions of a special community, an "amenity-driven community," as he refers to it.
Nestled in the hills near Laurel Springs, the gated development will cover 60 acres, with several hundred feet of Big Peak Creek bordering it. Forty-three lots, all larger than an acre, will run up to $90,000. The homes, all log or log siding, will cost $300,000 and up.
Sounds like a golf community, a ski community or perhaps an equestrian development. Gatewood, though, who has a background in Web design and multimedia work, is looking to appeal to a specialized demographic: people who like to shoot guns.
"We've had quite a few people drive through, and we haven't even advertised it," he said. "We had a group of guys who heard of us in Orlando drive up to check it out. It's going to be just like a golf community where you're surrounded by your peers. We want to do the same thing -- build a nice sporting community for outdoors people, especially shooters."
Gatewood, who grew up in Columbus, Ga., moved to Ashe County a few months ago after spending the previous nine years in Atlanta. His father, Darrel Hamilton, and two others are the investors who purchased the tract of land next to the Ashe County Wildlife Club in Laurel Springs.
"We discussed doing an equestrian community, but there are a lot of those near the Virginia border, " Gatewood said.
The development, called "Timberwilde ("Ready. Aim. Live."), will rely on target ranges, not riding trails, to lure its clients. The Ashe County Wildlife Club has a stocked trout pond, lighted five-stand skeet range, a sporting clays course, a 200-yard rifle range, a pistol range and a pavillion area. The development company, Timberwilde Developers, has purchased a lifetime membership for each lot, and it will stay with the lot if the property is sold later, giving the new owners access.
The project has been well received locally, Gatewood said.
"We've done things right," he said. "Some of the planning board [members] said it was one of the nicest developments they've seen up here. There hasn't been any opposition at all. The wildlife club was preexisting, and they're pretty strong in the community."
The concept of planned communities is nothing new, but one catering to the shooting community is unusual. Gatewood said that the development should appeal to the non-shooter as well.
"For people just looking for a log home, you can be out of sight and have less noise on the other side of a ridge that runs through community, he said. "It's just like having a golf community where you're surrounded by your peers. We want to do build a nice sporting community for outdoors people, especially shooters."
It's an interesting concept, trading sand wedges for shotguns and putters for pistols. Time will tell if it's a cutting-edge concept or just a shot in the dark.
Shit, that will buy you 100 acres here in Central Ohio, a nice house, and your own range that doesn't require sharing.
I think I'll stay here. I don't like neighbors anyway.