New Developments in the Urbana Communtiy

Melissa Hillman

The construction of new homes in the Monrovia area leads to controversy between local residents.
Melissa Hillman
The construction of new homes in the Monrovia area leads to controversy between local residents.

Silver Maple Estates, a small rural neighborhood built from what was the land of the Gladhill farm, has always been an attractive selling point for homeowners of young families, and those in need of the serenity of open land, far from eclectic city life. This charming neighborhood is surrounded by plots of untouched farmland,that has been free from development. It feels like  a time warp of agricultural towns of years ago.

However, now shadowing over this small quaint neighborhood is a new development of cookie cutter houses, and evenly plotted yards, an oddly placed suburbia amongst the remnants of a small agricultural neighborhood. I understand that development of agricultural land is inevitable, but the idea that Monrovia will become something of Urbana is an alien and unwonted concept.

Over ten years ago, my family moved to Silver Maple Estates in search of a neighborhood to call home; an escape from the city life we once knew. This neighborhood is located in the heart of Monrovia, amongst what used to be corn fields and cattle. As you enter the neighborhood, each street section is named after a dairy cow of the Gladhill farm, a type of charm rarely found anywhere else.

Here people have lived and known each other for years and neighbors aren’t just neighbors, they are family. One of the last remaining Gladhill family members lives down the street, as well as other well-known families in the community. For the most part, the community all goes to the small church off of Kemptown Road every Sunday and has a traditional luncheon after. This is how I will remember my community and home that is now threatened by development.

The roots of this community is a generation of people forgotten by most, and when these people are no longer with us , the susceptibility of upheaval and the start of urban sprawl is inevitable. In reality it is already happening. Construction of new development is literally at the doorstep of my neighborhood. Every morning there is a new house, road, or excavation that I have not seen before.

Community members have continually fought and opposed the idea of what is known as the Monrovia Town Center; however nothing has stopped the development from happening. Though I know that the development of this area cannot be avoided at this point, I am concerned about what is going to happen to the surrounding small neighborhoods.

Though the development is on a small scale right now, how will it expand to be the Monrovia Town Center when these staggered neighborhoods are in the way? The land of these neighborhoods will eventually be bought, and families will have to leave their homes.

Though that is an exaggerated outcome, it is a probable end result of many years passing and the slow build of the development. Though development of simply houses seems innocent, it is the first step.

Looking down the road to Urbana, we need to remember at one point it was just agricultural land, untouched, but look at it now. It is filled with apartments and plotted out housing surrounded with chain restaurants and stores that overshadow the old neighborhoods that once were.

That is the same idea for Monrovia, and I am afraid that the end result of this development will be that the old rooted community and neighborhoods I will always remember will be washed out and forgotten. That is exactly what I do not want to happen, as many others do not as well.

I do not want to come to my childhood home years from now to find an apartment complex or chain restaurants.

I do not want to come to find a community I once knew as lively and verdant, replaced with a new and approved suburbia.

However I am afraid it is something this area cannot avoid.