Iowa City Cohousing is welcoming new members for its Prairie Hill development of 36 modest green homes on an 8-acre infill site near the University of Iowa and downtown Iowa City. Nearly half the units are spoken for already, but units of every size remain to be chosen. Construction of the first homes and common house is under way. Several units in the first 2 buildings are available for reservation and sale immediately. We expect some homes and the common house to be ready for occupancy by the end of 2017 and others to be completed for move-in early in 2018.
Current members range in age from 4 to 75, and we are committed to being a diverse, multigenerational community. Among us are an accountant, a mediator, a landscape designer, a massage therapist, a couple of engineers, professors, teachers and affordable home specialists. We are especially eager to welcome households with school-age children. The community is located within walking distance of an elementary school. Some down-payment assistance is available for income-qualified individuals and small families.
Homes in Prairie Hill range from 515-square foot studio apartments in the common house to duplexes with up to four bedrooms. In addition to the common house apartments, units are clustered in stacked flats with four homes of 645, 800 or 950 square feet, two-story duplexes of 1290 or 1600 square feet, and single-level townhouses. All the townhouses have been spoken for. As of August 2017 two of four common house apartments and an 800-square foot flat are available for purchase and move-in later in 2017. Some duplexes will be available for sale and occupancy in the winter of 2018.
Prairie Hill will be an eco-community planned according to permaculture principles. Half our 8-acre site will be preserved for gardens, orchards and prairie where we will harvest produce for use in individual and community kitchens. Super-insulated all-electric green homes will be clustered around the common house and surrounded by individual kitchen gardens. All homes will meet requirements to be Energy Star rated and eligible for LEED for Homes Silver certification. Individual homeowners may choose features which would increase the green qualities sufficiently to achieve LEED Gold certification. The homes have been sited to accommodate solar collectors on their roofs. We have grants and zero-interest loans to support sustainable stormwater management features on our hillside.
Prairie Hill is within walking and easy biking distance of many restaurants and other eateries, a grocery store, a fitness center and most other types of businesses and services folks use in everyday life. The lively center of Iowa City is just over a mile away, and two city bus routes have stops within a block or so of Prairie Hill. Excellent schools are nearby. A major new public park with trails, community gardens, an amphitheater and facilities for land and water activities is in the first phase of construction in 2017 just a few blocks away, and Prairie Hill is adjacent to a small neighborhood park.
Iowa City is a cosmopolitan small city highly rated in national assessments of good places to live. It is home to the University of Iowa with its Big 10 sports and large teaching hospital within easy walking distance of Prairie Hill. There are a VA hospital and a community hospital here, too. Featuring the university’s renowned Writers Workshop and International Writing Program, independent bookstores, and a vast community of writers, Iowa City is the only American city designated a UNESCO City of Literature. The university opened a magnificent new performing arts center and new art and music buildings in 2016, and a new art museum is in the planning stages. These state-of-the-art, architecturally significant facilities replace buildings destroyed in a major flood in 2008. (Prairie Hill is not in the floodplain.) Iowa City and the University of Iowa have silver ratings as a bicycle-friendly community and university, respectively, from the League of American Bicyclists. The city is in the process of approving a comprehensive complete bike trail network plan.
Building and site plans and information about our cohousing community are on our website at http://iowacitycohousing.org. We have a Facebook page at https://facebook.com/iowacitycohousing/. Contact us directly for further information at iowacitycohousing [at] gmail [dot] com.
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