New Proposal for Development of the Eastern Hills Country Club Property
The former Eastern Hills Country Club property is now under contract to My Possibilities, a non profit organization headquartered in Plano. The plan was first introduced at Councilman Jerry Nickerson’s Town Hall Meeting on April 5. Michael Thomas, representing My Possibilities, presented the plan once again at a meeting of Friends of South Garland on April 19. The development would include 300 single family dwellings built under Universal Construction guidelines. My Possibilities would retain ownership of 100 of the homes, for occupancy by adults with special needs. The remaining 200 homes would be for sale on the open real estate market.
According to the proposal, homes will range in size from 1,700 square feet to 3,000 square feet. The outdoor and indoor event facilities will be available to the entire community, as will the existing water features, 14 acres of green-space and wide walking/biking trail. The purpose of the project is to create a community that the highly functioning special needs population can become an active part of, rather than the isolation that often exists.
The Eastern Hills Country Club closed in 2013 and was sold at auction on the steps of the bankruptcy court. The 178 acre property was purchased by Victor Ballas, a real estate investor. The clubhouse was destroyed by fire and the golf course is overgrown and inhabited by various species of wildlife. Golf cart paths are no longer passable and there is a fear of wildfire during the hot summer months. A group of old timers have stubbornly insisted that the development will have to include a golf course, but that idea has proven to be financially unfeasible. The surrounding area sorely misses the social activities that the country club provided. The My Possibilities proposal provides a sort of community center, minus the golf course.
Residents of the country club neighborhood have asked many questions and have many apprehensions, but so far My Possibilities seems to be extremely accommodating.
Chairman of the Board, Charmaine Solomon, explained how and why she founded My Possibilities 10 years ago. Mike Thomas informed those present of the financial strength of the organization, thanks to major philanthropic donations amounting to $100 million. The potential financial and PR value to the City of Garland and the adjacent community is certainly obvious. However, there is much work to be done before this dream becomes a reality.