Cumming Could Quadruple in Size With Iowa’s First ‘Agrihood’

CUMMING, Iowa -- Just 10 minutes south of West Des Moines off Interstate 35 sits the little town of Cumming. Soon enough, this rural community could be a premier destination.

Cumming could see its population of under 400 quadruple in size in a few years thanks to a one-of-a-kind residential and retail development known as an "agrihood."

"When you Google 'top 10 things to do in Des Moines,' I think the agrihood could potentially be one that starts to make that list," Director of Sales and Marketing for Diligent Development Kalen Ludwig said.

Agrihood, in simplicity, is a farm within a community. It's a way for people to live walking distance away from businesses, neighbors and their own community gardens. It gives a piece of country life, while still being just minutes away from the urban center of Des Moines.

It's a dream that is about to come to life for Diligent Development. The company is hoping to bring Iowa its first agrihood community that works to bring agriculture closer to town.

"People are looking for more things like that,” Ludwig said. “Knowing that your vegetables and your salad, you're able to pick those up at the little local farmers' market stand that they will have or maybe get them delivered to your doorstep. [It] is such an interesting concept, I think."

The 400 acre, $260 million community called Middlebrook plans to have condominiums next to orchards and community gardens near restaurants and breweries. It could make a town already a destination for bikers along the Great Western Trail that much more appealing.

"[People] are already going down there and visiting the Cumming Tap and the Cumming Distillery. It is already a neat attraction area,” Ludwig said.

Mayor Tom Becker thinks it's only a matter of time before his country town starts to boom.

"I think Cumming is going to be the next growth area,” Becker said. He thinks this idea keeps their small town from becoming just another suburb.

"This is so unique that I think it will put Cumming on the map,” Becker said.

“Bringing that agrihood feel and bringing that to its already rural roots is something that the city of Cumming is really excited about,” Ludwig said.

Cumming's iconic schoolhouse, where former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin attended, is already being remodeled into a brewery right across the street from the agrihood lot.

Diligent Development is working on getting their planned unit development approved right now. They say they hope to break ground before 2020, adding to their already 200 single-family lots they are currently building just north of the agrihood location.

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