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. More than half the homes are occupied or spoken for already, and we have three homes available now for purchase and completion. More homes will be completed in the summer of 2019.
• Finished already and available for immediate occupancy is an 800 square-foot, single-level, two-bedroom townhouse just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Common House.
• Two 1290 square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath two-story duplexes on the hill above the Common House are ready for new owners to choose interior materials and finishes and move into by Winter or Spring 2019. New members will have an opportunity to select their flooring, lights, colors and cabinets from options chosen to be energy efficient.
All Prairie Hill homes are built to standards for Energy-Star and LEED silver certification. They are super-insulated and all-electric, requiring little energy for heating and cooling. Individual homeowners may choose features which will increase the green qualities sufficiently to achieve LEED gold certification.
Prairie Hill is an eco-community planned according to permaculture principles. Half of our 8-acre site has been preserved for prairie plantings and gardens and orchards, where we can harvest produce for use in our community kitchen. Homes are clustered around the Common House and surrounded by individual kitchen gardens. Most homes have been sited to accommodate optional solar collectors on their roofs. Iowa City Cohousing has been awarded grants and low-cost loans to support the sustainable stormwater management features on our site.
Homes range from 515 square-foot studio apartments in the Common House to 1600 square- foot, two-story duplexes with two baths and up to four bedrooms. Other home sizes available are 645 and 950 square feet. Buildings are arranged in clusters of duplexes of one or two stories, two-story fourplexes and single-level townhouses. The studio apartments and three of four townhouses have been sold. All homes will be owner-occupied.
Current members range in age from 6 to 81, and we are committed to being a diverse, multigenerational community. Among us are an accountant, a mediator, a landscape designer, a massage therapist, an engineer, professors, teachers, writers and editors affordable-home specialists and some children. We are especially eager to welcome single- and two-parent families with school-age children. We have secured grants and tax credits to help make some of our homes more affordable for income-qualified members.
The first members moved into their homes in March 2018. We celebrated our first Thanksgiving in our Common House dining room in 2018 and have been sharing Tasty Tuesday community meals and a couple of potluck dinners each month. Spontaneous game or movie nights have developed almost weekly, and we host open houses to show off our community and available homes twice a month. Pets are welcome, and shared pet-sitting has become routine when owners have been away.
Prairie Hill is within walking and biking distance of many restaurants and other eateries, a grocery store, a fitness center, and most other types of business and service folks use in everyday life. The business and cultural 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 public elementary and secondary schools are nearby.
Iowa City is a cosmopolitan small city often highly rated in national assessments of best 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 was the first American city designated a UNESCO City of Literature. In 2016 a magnificent new performing arts center and new homes for the university studio arts programs and the School of Music opened. A new university art museum is in the planning stages. These state-of-the-art facilities replace buildings destroyed in a major flood in 2008. Prairie Hill is near the Iowa River and a large new riverfront park, but it is not in the flood plain.
Building and site plans and more information about Prairie Hill are on our website at iowacitycohousing.org. We have a blog at http://prairiehillcohousing.blogspot.com and a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Iowacitycohousing/. Contact us for further information at iowacitycohousing [at] gmail [dot] com.
cdyer1621 [at] gmail [dot] com