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Kernersville housing development aims to break down barriers between neighbors; ‘That’s what community is all about’

Buckley Report

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — Think about your daily routine. How many of your neighbors do you interact with? How often do you spend time with them?

It used to be commonplace. At the end of the day — especially in the summer, when it was hot — people got out on their porches to try to catch a little breeze, and they would talk to their neighbors or say something to the boy or girl passing by on their bike.

But air-conditioning and then things like streaming services — Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu — changed all that. People now hunker down in their homes, set at a comfortable 68 degrees in front of a big-screen TV and stream their latest, favorite show. But is that really the way we want to live?

Not according to Barrett Johnson.

“We’re meant to be in community, as people. We don’t do well when we’re isolated,” Johnson said. 

Johnson is a church pastor, and community is at the heart of what he does. He and his family were looking for something like what Milt Rhodes and his colleagues were building. Rhodes is the principal planner for Arden Homes who, along with PM Development, is building something different. Well, different than what most developers are doing these days.

Welden Village is the first of several phases of development they’re doing in Kernersville off Highway 66, near Bishop McGuinness High School.

“I think in the first 50 homes, 43 of them were sort of sold on the spot by folks who said, ‘Wow, this is different, I like it,’” Rhodes said. “Young couple, living next door to a middle-aged couple, living next door to an older couple, you just have this – and having the porch and the sidewalk, the public realm, as a place to meet has created new relationships.”

No house will be more than about a 3-minute walk from a park or hiking trail, and all the homes come with user-friendly front porches that are always out in front of the garage door to help develop that sense of community.

“We think we have a place for just about everybody out here. That’s what community is all about,” Rhodes said.

See the development and what Barrett Johnson’s son built after being inspired by it in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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