Center Grove area residents still hear fireworks and booming noises coming from a once-planned subdivision that is now overgrown with weeds.
The land, once known as the Cricket Ridge neighborhood, has been abandoned for nearly 20 years, since plans for a 96-home subdivision in 1995 never got beyond building two model homes.
M/I Homes of Indiana has come forward with new designs for a neighborhood with 104 single-family homes on the 40 acres along Paddock Road between Olive Branch and Smith Valley roads.
The developer expects to finalize its purchase of the property in July and complete the new subdivision within three years, said Mark Connor, vice president of land acquisition. The company plans to start constructing infrastructure, such as streets and sewer lines, on the land early in August, he said.
Here is a closer look at the planned subdivision that residents have complained about being overgrown with weeds and a site of vandalism and trash dumping since previous development plans were dropped years ago:
What: Former Cricket Ridge neighborhood is being redeveloped as The Preserve at Riley Meadows.
Where: About 40 acres on Paddock Road between Olive Branch and Smith Valley roads
Developer: M/I Homes of Indiana
Project details: A neighborhood of 104 single-family homes for first-time homebuyers or buyers looking to upgrade. The homes will be one- and two-story, ranging in size from 1,900 to 3,300 square feet.
Approvals needed: The company needs the county plan commission to approve its preliminary plat, the county technical review committee to approve its engineering plans for drainage, rainwater collection and sewer work, and then the county commissioners to approve a final plat of the property.
The homes will be one- and two-story houses that range from 1,900 square feet to 3,300 square feet and are expected to be priced between $190,000 and $220,000.
The new development is good news for neighboring residents concerned about the property. The Cricket Ridge model homes burned years ago, and neighbors have called police to the woodsy area in the years since after hearing gunshots from the property.
“We want to be sure the value of our property remains high and that our community is safe and clean,” said Stefanie Jansen, who has lived nearby for about eight months. “I’d like to see something there that nicely complements the areas around Paddock.”
Thistle plants growing on the property right now are nearly 6 feet tall, and the grass isn’t much shorter, Jansen said.
In the past, people have dumped trash and teenagers have smoked marijuana and driven all-terrain vehicles on the land, according to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
A few times a week, loud booms come from the property that sometimes shake Jansen’s house.
“It’s certainly larger than a firecracker because we can kind of see white smoke filtering up above the trees,” she said.
Motorists park and leave quickly from the edge of the property, Jansen said.
She called police last year when she heard gunshots, but calling again doesn’t seem worthwhile, since whoever causes the explosions leaves quickly, she said.
Booming sounds like gunshots and firecrackers have come from the area of the abandoned subdivision for years, said Matt Smith, who has lived in the area for seven years. He has not called the police about the noise.
“I just find it more rude and inconsiderate than anything,” Smith said.
Jansen recently emailed property owner Wesleyan Investment Properties and received a response that the organization was selling the property and changes should happen soon, she said.
M/I Homes recently submitted initial plans for the Preserve at Riley Meadows to the Johnson County planning office. The homebuilder has been building $300,000 houses in the Hickory Stick subdivision in White River Township.
Plans for the new neighborhood show a pond in the front surrounded by small benches and a walking path and an 8-foot-wide sidewalk along Paddock Road for walkers and bikers. The area also will include landscaped, grassy common areas, according to plans on file with the county planning department.
The company is paying Wesleyan Investment Properties of Fishers about $675,000 for the property. Officials from Wesleyan were not available.