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April 21, 2008 | Michigan City News Dispatch

The Beach here is perfect



The beach here is perfect'
Beachwalk offers many amenities, both for visitors and residents
By LAURIE WINK
The News-Dispatch

MlCHIGAN CITY – Family cottages have dotted the Lake Michigan community of Sheridan Beach since the 19th century. Now that classic cottage feel is married with the latest amenities in Beachwalk, a resort development that sprouted in the 1990s and is still evolving and expanding. The site of Beachwalk is a former sand mine operated by MaitinMarietta Corp. that closed two decades ago. From the Beachwalk entrance on Lake Shore Drive, one passes differently designed cottages that ,all have front porches and white picket fences, Adding to the ambiance is an array of bright paint colors' and clever names adorning the cottages, There's Hen House, Wade Inn and Three Buoys, to name a few. "It's an idealized kind of place for a getaway home," said Beachwalk developer 'Tom Moss, who created the' community primarily for families with children and their extended families. "It's a very beautiful set up for families," Moss said, "The beach here is perfect," Besides the beach, Beachwalkhas an outdoor pool, a splash pad; fishing pier, tennis and basketball courts, a putting green, park areas and several playgrounds. Moss said it's not an exclusive conclave for residents only.

"There are no gates out here," he said, "People have a sense of it being private, that they shouldn't be here." ' The public is welcome to patronize the second location of Tree House Restaurant that will open in May. There's a site available• for weddings and, Moss said, cottages make ideal locations for family reunions or holidays, Even those who need a temporary place to stay because of divorce, home damage or oilier circumstances can find available rental space during the off-season. Plenty of cottage owners rent their facilities by the week or longer, throughout the year.

About a third of Beachwalk owners originally visited as renters, according to Moss. John Smarsh, general manager of vacation rentals, said during prime season, weekly rental rates ,range from $2,000 for a one-bedroom up to $6,000 for units accommodating 25 people. Visitors can p.urchase what Moss calls "bring backs" Beachwalk logoed polo shirts, beach towels, beach balls and other items - at a retail store in a' new Welcome Center. The center sports a striking four-pillared portico.and serves as the sales and rental hub, The latest development in Beachwalk is Cason Park, a 13 unit camp built around a common area. Cottages in this section willsell for $300,000 and up, An additional 50 acres within Beachwalk has yet to be developed. Cason Park was planned by nationally known architect Robert Orr, who was the original architect for Beachwalk. Orr designed Beachwalk as a New Urbanist community, using principles that encourage walking, a mix of residential and retail and a range of sizes and prices. Moss said nother aspect of New Urbanism is "traffic calming," a design concept that prevents community)' streets from becoming thoroughfares. Beachwalk recently added its first speed bump, a measure of its devotion to New Urbanist principles and, its increasing popularity. Contact Laurie Wink at lwink@thenewsdispatch.com.