Integrating heritage, conservation, beauty, and education
The site for Ave Maria University and the Town of Ave Maria was once 5,000 acres of farm fields in rural Collier County, Florida. To protect this agricultural heritage while also promoting economic expansion and diversification, a master plan was required to create the new town and university.
Leading a public/private collaborative planning process, our planners developed the model for both the Town of Ave Maria and the Rural Lands Stewardship Area Overlay (RLSA)—an award-winning plan that establishes principles of stewardship. The RLSA will ultimately protect 90,000 acres of critical habitat and water resources and 40,000 acres of prime agricultural land while providing sustainable new communities to support a 50-year growth horizon, all using incentives and no taxpayer funds. Our planners, civil engineers, surveyors, and environmental scientists completed the vision by providing infrastructure design services to support the continued development of the town center, university campus, school of law, undergraduate housing, and a wide range of residential neighborhoods that would ultimately house over 5,000 families.
Ave Maria was the first application of the RLSA in east Collier County, and the site now integrates the area's heritage and beauty with the full educational experience and atmosphere of a university town.
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