Urbanites flocking to smaller, quieter rural locales
The first in a continuing series on growth and development in Putnam County.
CRESCENT CITY – People are trading big-city bustle for small-town attitudes and moving to South Putnam in retirement mode.
At least that’s the case for new Crescent City residents Kip Roddenberry and his wife.
“My father was a lifelong Greyhound bus driver and his route, as they called it, went from Orlando to Jacksonville up (U.S.) 17. So, when I was a wee one … my father would bring me up to Crescent Lake,” Roddenberry said. “… I was familiar with the area, absolutely loved it since I was a little kid. And the opportunity presented itself and we moved.”
Roddenberry moved from Central Florida in April but continues to teach online for Full Sail University in Orlando. His wife, Lisa, plans to retire soon but still commutes to teach special education students at Magnolia School in Orlando.
Kip Roddenberry said he likes how involved residents are in community activities, the friendly neighbors and getting to shop at local businesses and restaurants.
“I’ve even visited the Little Blue House, been to the library here,” he said. “We, even with COVID, have made a pretty good attempt at meeting people.”
He and his wife have no plans of slowing down, though. Kip Roddenberry said they would love to get involved with local events and maybe even create new ones because Kip spent many years working for NASCAR and global productions before teaching.
The Roddenberrys are not the only new faces in the bass capital of the world.
According to the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors, 89 homes in Crescent City were sold in December, 86 were sold in January and October 2020 hit a six-month high with 96 homes sold.
Amy Heath, broker and owner of St. Johns Realty & Management in Crescent City, said the people she spoke to are interested in Crescent City property because the area is more affordable compared to surrounding cities. They want to live in a “laidback” community, Heath said.
“Over the last six or nine months, we’ve had a lot of people coming from eastern counties,” she said.
Heath said people are moving to Crescent City from St. Johns, Flagler and Duval counties. New residents want to get away from the increasing traffic issues and construction in places like St. Augustine, she said.
Resident Tracy Eckhardt moved from Orlando in spring 2017 after retiring from Orange County Public Schools. She said a friend showed her the city and Eckhardt fell in love with the quaintness and charm of Crescent City.
“I was like, ‘Oh, wow. This is great,’” Eckhardt said.
She liked the slower place the city offered and said Crescent City suits her just fine. Eckhardt said it would be good for the area if people bought and fixed up properties, like she did.
“What I bought was very, very shabby,” Eckhardt said. “But I’m quite proud to show it off.”
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