Iowa City Cohousing is developing a green community of 36 units on a 7.8 acre infill site in a city of 70,000. We have broken ground, and we have architectural plans for all of our homes. The first homes are scheduled for occupancy in the fall of 2017. Our development, called Prairie Hill, is located on bus lines about a mile from the University of Iowa and downtown Iowa City. There are numerous restaurants and businesses within easy walking distance of the community. Our common house will include four apartments for sale, and the community will be a mix of single-story townhouses, two-story duplexes and fourplexes, or stacked flats, with two units up and two down. Nearly four acres of our site has been reserved for gardens and orchards where some of our food will be grown, prairie, and open space.
Committed to being a diverse, inclusive, multigenerational community, we are especially interested in attracting families with school-age children. Iowa City Cohousing has been awarded grants and state tax credits to build some affordable workforce homes. We also have grants to provide down-payment assistance for a few homes for income-qualified households. Current members have skills in design, housing finance, green building, landscape architecture, mediation, marketing, electrical engineering, healing arts and more. Many of our members are or have been teachers.
Living sustainably for Prairie Hill Cohousing means building LEED-certifiable homes situated to utilize solar energy, practicing permaculture land-use principles, maintaining storm water on our site, sharing resources from table saws to pet-sitting, and relying on alternative transportation. We have received grants and low-cost loans to support our on-site sustainable stormwater management practices.
Iowa City ranks high in many national ratings of desirable communities, including 2nd best place to live in America, according to the 2017 Livability.com index. It has top-ranked public schools, a world-class university hospital and a VA hospital, a thriving arts and entertainment culture, and Big Ten sports. It is the only UNESCO City of Literature in the United States. The Iowa City unemployment rate is just 2.3 percent, and it remained low during the recent recession. Iowa City and the University of Iowa have silver ratings as a bicycle-friendly community and university, respectively, by the League of American Bicyclists.
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