BARLING, Ark. (AP) — Heritage Village, a walkable neighborhood with both commercial and residential space, is now under development on the Barling side of Chaffee Crossing across from the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education.

Designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and closer relationships with neighbors, the $11 million, 86,000-square-foot project on medical college land is expected to be completed by next summer to offer more residential space and amenities for physician students at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine and The Arkansas Colleges of Health Science.

Most of the 27,000 square-feet in retail space is already spoken for in what will be the "main town center of a traditional neighborhood development," Arkansas Colleges of Health Education President and CEO Kyle Parker recently told a group gathered for the project's ceremonial groundbreaking.

A business intending to occupy one of the 14 locations at Heritage Village is Carrot Dirt, the cold-pressed juice and sandwich shop with a location at GreenPointe Shopping Center. Brandon and Jessica Parker, owners of Carrot Dirt, said they also intend to offer specialty coffees at what will be their second location.

Two three-story buildings reminiscent of the New Orleans French Quarter will offer retail space on the first level and about 59,000 square feet of residential space on the second and third levels.

Fifteen cottages are in the preliminary phase of development by Rick Mooney Construction as part of Heritage Village, the Southwest Times Record reported. Mooney said the homes will be about 1,800-square feet and create a "pocket neighborhood" with a concentration on walkability much like those in Seaside, Florida, and Carlton Landing on Lake Eufala in Oklahoma. The cottages would be available to both students and the general public, likely on a leased basis.

A park with gardens honoring those who have donated their bodies to science for the medical students will also be in the 115-acre development of Heritage Village. With the Osteopathic Medical College and the Colleges of Health Science, about 1,000 students are expected to be on campus by 2021.

Creation of Heritage Village was spawned by one of the medical institution's missions: healthy living.

The concept and design phase for Heritage Village has taken more than two years, with passage of the first Planned Zoning District in both Fort Smith and Barling as two major hurdles. The city of Barling waived the permit fees for the project, Parker noted.

There were also two economic studies to acquire residential and commercial capacity levels that were used by Michael Watkins, designer of the well-known traditional neighborhood of Seaside, Florida, to do the layout for the streets, traffic flow, parking spots, trees and other fine details.

The two central buildings for Heritage Village were designed by Tim Risley & Associates in Fort Smith. The architects were awarded last year by American School & University for their design of the medical college's main campus building.

Studies on Mueller, Texas, a 711-acre planned development north of Austin, Texas, were also done by Parker to further examine the benefits of the closer-knit neighborhoods in comparison to urban sprawl. Parker said that although it's only been about 25 years since the planned development of Mueller was built out of old airport land, that kind of neighborhood is showing increased life expectancy of over two years.

Everything down to the turning radius of local firetrucks and width of garbage trucks was called for in the 117-page plans for Heritage Village, Parker added.

Although the plans are intricate, the result is expected to be simple.

"It's in recognition of way of life that's been replaced over time by sprawling developments, cookie-cutter houses and access to life's staples only available by getting into a car and driving to get there," Parker said at the groundbreaking. "'Heritage' harkens back to settlements where easy access to live, to work and to play were just a few steps away. 'Village' embraces the concept and recognition that we as a people need one another. We enjoy getting to know our neighbor. We enjoy visiting at the park. And we enjoy sitting out on the porch swing."

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Information from: Southwest Times Record, http://www.swtimes.com/