Dalhousie building neighborhoods to complement golf course

Monday, November 15, 2004

A new chapter in the Dalhousie legacy

By Judy Wiles

Special to Business Today

Real estate surrounding the world-class golf course is now being developed and sold. Cape Girardeau city sewer and water lines are being installed, concrete streets for the neighborhoods of Dalhousie are in the process of being poured and lots are being staked.

Architectural designs are being finalized for the townhomes (condominiums) and the garden homes. Dalhousie is in a state of transition as it was when its legacy began.

The legacy of Dalhousie began in the late 1700s when Rebecca Ramsey left her home in Scotland, a land of lochs, glens and highlands. Rebecca Ramsey was a sister to the Earl of Dalhousie and was raised in the Dalhousie Castle in Scotland, belonging to the Ramsey clan since 1280. Rebecca married Alexander Giboney in the "New World" and traveled to the Cape Girardeau area to live near her relative Andrew Ramsey who was one of the first settlers in the district.

Although there are historical traces of American Indian encampments on the 1,000 acres of land now called Dalhousie, the lasting settlers of this land were Alexander and Rebecca Giboney and their descendants. Their family received a Spanish land grant for this property in 1798, signed by Louis Lorimier, Spain's trusted agent for the region.

An important resident of this property was Louis Houck, a prominent figure in Cape Girardeau in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and husband to Mary Hunter Giboney. As a railroad entrepreneur, Houck laid the first railroad line into Cape Girardeau.

In his 25-years of railroad construction, he laid 500 miles of track in Southeast Missouri, thereby significantly affecting the economic development of the region. Houck was very instrumental in the development of the Normal School (now Southeast Missouri State University) and locating it in Cape Girardeau. He served as president of the Board of Regents for 36 years.

As the developers of the land, Cord Dombrowski and Mark McDowell are well aware of the heritage of the property and have expressed a deep desire to preserve its legacy.

"We contacted the National Trust for Historical Preservation and the Missouri Historic Preservation Office to help us research and document important cultural and archeological records related to the property," said Dombrowski.

McDowell added, "We also set aside areas for wetlands and natural habitat preserves which are in alignment with our membership in the Audubon Society Cooperative Sanctuary Program."

Development of this property into a golf course and residential community represents a significant economic development endeavor. First, Dombrowski and McDowell tackled their dream of creating a premier golf course.

"We selected the Nicklaus Design Group to design the course, because they were capable of capitalizing on the beauty of the existing land and making it worthy of golfers with high standards," said Dombrowski. The result is a golf course called The Dalhousie, which has received the distinction of being named "8th Best New Private Course in the Nation" by 2004 Golf Digest.

McDowell said, "A lot of research went into the design of the course, including research into the finest courses in Scotland." The Scottish heritage of Dalhousie is evident in the design of some of the bunkers.

"The prestige of our club was enhanced this year when Karen Stupples, Dalhousie LPGA touring pro, won the 2004 Women's British Open," said Dombrowski. "We take enormous pride in Karen's performance this year and are grateful for her continuing affiliation with Dalhousie."

Property owners have an option to join Dalhousie.

The director of the golf course is Jack Connell and the new general manager is Andy Deioro.

The next natural progression was to develop a residential community surrounding the course. Dombrowski emphasizes that the concept of a planned community with a series of well-defined neighborhoods was considered essential, rather than develop the property as a set of discrete subdivisions.

McDowell said, "It was decided to develop a master plan, blending the design of a world-class golf course with that of defined neighborhoods, based on styles of living."

According to Dombrowski, "The community of Dalhousie has the potential to be the population size of the city of New Madrid, when lots and residential units from the nearly 1,000 acres are sold."

The master plan for The Neighborhoods of Dalhousie includes a community club house where social and fitness activities may occur. A swimming pool and tennis court will be part of the Dalhousie campus. The current plan encompasses four neighborhoods -- The Highlands, Ramsey's Run, The Lochs and The Glen -- each with distinctive styles of living and landscape design features.

The neighborhood of The Highlands features spectacular views of the golf course and the woodland terrain. The choice of lots in The Highlands will range from one acre to four acres and will overlook or adjoin the course.

The neighborhood of Ramsey's Run offers a unique dimension to Dalhousie living. Architect Tom Cohen, partner and CEO of Johannes/Cohen Collaborative of St. Louis, has designed imaginative townhomes for Dalhousie. These attached homes offer considerable natural light with courtyard garden areas between the units.

The architectural styles of homes in The Lochs will feature low-maintenance exteriors, easy-flowing floorplans and ultra-modern features. The garden homes in The Lochs will offer patios and decks for entertaining and just enough lawn to allow homeowners a chance to undertake unique garden design features.

Located near Cape Girardeau's fine schools, the neighborhood of The Glen will feature homes suited for families with children.

Jackie Clark-Otto, Dalhousie's real estate manager, can provide information about the home sites and residential living available at Dalhousie. She has extensive experience in real estate in this market. She is a 26-year resident of Cape Girardeau, a graduate of the University of the Missouri-Columbia and has served the community in a number of leadership roles.

Clark-Otto has served as president of the Public Library Board, member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees at Southeast Hospital and president of the American Cancer Society.

"Even those who do not play golf will enjoy the scenic landscape design of The Dalhousie," said Clark-Otto. "Furthermore, property values remain high when affiliated with a prestigious golf course. Another major advantage is its location. Because Dalhousie is located within the city limits of Cape Girardeau, residents can enjoy the benefits of city services including fire and police protection, public water and sewer lines."

Regular updates about the progress at Dalhousie is available at Dalhousie's Web site, www.livethelegacy.net

Judy Wiles is a professor in the Department of Management and Marketing at Harrison College of Business at Southeast Missouri State University.

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