CANAL FULTON — About 50 acres in Canal Fulton could become a nature-focused conference center and resort designed to teach people about living sustainably.

The proposed $15.3 million "living resort," known as Monarch, would be a secluded, green-building-certified retreat on the site of a former farm.

It's a dream a Northeast Ohio woman has been chasing for a decade. She's trying to make it a reality in Stark County, tentatively as early as the end of next year.

Wendy Kertesz, the developer, already has tried to build the Monarch resort twice before. This time, the land she wants to purchase is under contract, and she has the OK to rezone the acreage once she buys it.

"I could just say that I know it," Kertesz said. "I mean, there is something so different this time. It's trust, and just the sense you get of how beautifully this has come together, how easily this has come together."

Monarch, a living resort, is designed to educate people about what it means to live sustainably without sacrificing luxury. Multiple green building certifications will be sought for the property.

Kertesz anticipates an 18-month build, with a goal of opening the resort by the end of 2020.

Renderings of the resort include:

• The G.A.T.E. House, which would be a greenhouse and administration office, house tools for facility maintenance and offer space for educational programs. This is the only building that would be open to the public regularly.

• Four chalets (named and themed Earth, Air, Water and Fire) for longer-term guests.

• The Well Building, which contains a fitness room, spa rooms, a meditation room and access to equipment for outdoor activities.

• The main resort building, with 20 guest rooms and meeting space. The main building would be a one-at-a-time-use facility, meaning it would not be rented like a hotel. A group would reserve the entire place for private use.

The resort would include a commercial-grade kitchen but no onsite food. Guests would work with a concierge service to arrange for a private chef, order catering or cook their own meals.

The master design architect for the project is Jason McLennan, who runs a design firm based in Washington state. He's regarded as one of the most influential people in the green-building movement and created the Living Building Challenge — the most rigorous green building program, which Kertesz is pursuing.

In a statement provided to The Canton Repository, McLennan said he's excited to lead the design on the Monarch project because of its sustainability goals.

"Monarch has laid out a compelling vision that we are thrilled to be part of. We have yet to begin our work, but hope to start before summer on exciting design possibilities. Once complete, we believe it will be one of the world's most environmentally responsible projects of its type."

Kertesz's interest in creating a sustainable resort came from a book by Barbara Kingsolver called "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life," which chronicles a family's attempts to produce its food locally on an Appalachian farm.

With a background in sales and marketing, Kertesz started to envision a place where she could teach people about sustainability — a movement she thinks has been slow to gain traction in the Midwest.

Two previous attempts to start up the project in Northeast Ohio fizzled — in Ashland in 2010 and Westfield Township in Medina County in 2015.

Kertesz is in the process of securing funding for the Canal Fulton site; she expects it to come from a mix of private investors and banks.

She has said she will not seek a tax abatement for the development.

Last August, Canal Fulton City Council approved a commitment to changing the zoning at the farm site to support the project, provided it moves forward.

Kertesz hasn't purchased the property, which is valued at $92,800, but she said she anticipates the sale will be finalized before mid-May, when she hopes to break ground.