By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The ribbon was cut about 10:30 a.m.
But the official blessing for the grand opening of Millington’s Beckham Place took place about 20 minutes later when Flag City native Oma Jean Beckham Curlin arrived to tour the model home.
With her royal blue top and pearl white pants, Curlin drew the attention of present.
She removed her mask for photo opportunities and to share the story of Beckham Place’s legacy. Prior to Curlin’s arrival, Millington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terry Roland reflected on the history of the newest subdivision in Millington and what it means to the city to have the new homes being sold.
“It’s a heartfelt situation,” he said. “When you love something as much as I love this town, just being able to give back, watch it grow and watch it proposer. To even have a renaissance during a pandemic, that’s something special. It’s definitely God-sent as far as I am concern.”
Roland, also a Millington native, has seen Flag City highs and lows. His family’s business Roland’s Tires is celebrating 55 years in operation. It survived even after the Navy Base downsized several years ago.
Roland said the arrival of D R Horton with Beckham Place illustrates how a business is ready to invest into Millington and the Naval Support Activity Mid-South. Beckham Place is just part of 1,250 homes to be built in Millington, which could bring more tax dollars to the city and funding for Millington Municipal Schools.
“You can come to Millington and get Mayberry and make money at the same time,” Roland said.
Looking to bring new residents to Millington is the DR Horton team of Lisa Ballard, Carolyn Gregory and Tona Heard.
“Prime location, it’s right off of Highway 51,”said Heard, new home specialist with DR Horton. “It’s a family atmosphere. Great educators are nearby. Then there is the military. We call them our “Main Street Stars.” It just an up and coming location. We’re so glad to be here.”
Fellow new home specialist Gregory noted the hard work that went into building this subdivision will be validated with new residents.
“It’s really gratifying to see all our homes bloom and to see all the fruits of our labor — everybody,” she said. “We’re a team from the construction and then we’re the last group to enter. But we’re on the beginning line of this team that has the benefit of filling that void. DR Horton needed to be here because we needed new homes for our military.
“Our military is really critical to us and they are our predominant purchasers in this area,” Gregory continued. “Not to say others are not welcomed too. We’ve had other sells. We’re 52 percent sold out of the 50 lots. We’re looking forward to cooperating with all our realtors. That’s 80 percent of our business. So bring your prospects on, we’re ready for them.”
Those who buy a new home at Beckham Place will enjoy 21st Century amenities. But there is a 20th Century history lesson that is the foundation of the subdivision.
Curlin wrote an open letter to the community back in the spring once the signage for Beckham Place came to fruition.
“The development of Beckham Place Subdivision is an example of a long-awaited dream coming true. My father A.R. Beckham sold his farm and home on Wilkinsville Road to the Belz family in 1956 with the understanding they would eventually develop a subdivision on the property.
In 2019 his dream started to come true with the development of the Beckham Place Subdivision and in honor of him and his dream, I want to offer a bit of history of the property.
The farm included a residence a large barn and a ‘potato’ storage building along with the farm acreage. My family repaired and added to the residence which became a favorite place to gather for a great meal, family companionship and play.
My daddy was the most honest, honorable and considerate man I have ever known. He was a true Southern gentlemen in every sense. His word was his bond and a handshake from him was a contract to be fulfilled as he agreed.
He bought and sold land and farms for years without written contracts, the various deals being set up with a handshake agreement.
Daddy was an optimist whose glass was always more than half full and saw only the best in people. He trusted people with whom he dealt and was seldom disappointed. He treated everyone equal and had the ability to have a rapport with the wealthy or the less than rich with the same consideration and treatment to all.
He was an early example of diversity and equality. To me he will always be my sweet ‘Poppa.’
My dad always told me though the years until his death, the Belz family would be true to their word and fulfill his dream in time and I am pleased with this coming to fruition in my lifetime.
Our Beckman family members are proud to lend our name to the subdivision and want to express appreciation to everyone who had a part in the process, especially the Belz family for holding on to my father’s dream.”
“That makes you feel good,” Roland said. “I’ve heard from people pretty knowledgeable about real estate. They said a house of any kind sold in Millington only stays on the market for an hour, if an hour. It shows our area is ready for the growth.”
Ballard, new home sales agent with DR Horton, said what Millington has to offer makes her job easier.
“It’s a very walkable community,” she said. “They can enjoy getting to know one another. Millington just offers so much more as far as retail and being within limits of that. The schools are here and I have one personally who is teaching in the system right now.
“I love to see what is going on in Millington right now,” Ballard added. “We’re loving being a part of this. We offer high quality homes with great features like smart home technology, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances. You come in and pick your house, pick your colors and everything is included. We encourage you to come out and talk to one of us.”
With a few homes done and sold, the construction continues at Beckham Place. But for a moment those behind the scenes and those greeting you at the model house came together to let Millington now it’s time to come home.
“It’s a celebration of a lot of hard work with the DR Horton team to come to Millington,” Ballard said. “It starts even before the agents appear. It starts with purchasing this property, developing this property. Everything, there are so many more people behind this.
“We’re just blessed to be on the frontline,” she concluded. “So we want to thank them, the DR Horton corporation to give Carolyn, Tona and me this chance to bring dream homes to Millington. It’s great to start to see the hard work and labor of love.”
For more information, visit www.drhorton.com