Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Soil and Water - New Developments

Iowa City Cohousing is seeking to implement sustainable practices in many aspects of our development. With our land, we are not only seeking sustainability, but working to restore soil quality. We have sought and are seeking funding from outside sources to further these aspects of our development. On November 4, 2015, we received notice that we had received a 50% cost-share grant from the Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District for $12,804 to help pay for our bio-retention cell. The main purpose of this bio-retention cell is to keep rainwater on our land rather than having it run off into city stormwater drains. A great fringe benefit is that it will also add beauty to the site, since it will be full of flowering plants.

On the same day that we got notice of the Soil and Water Conservation grant, we also received notice that we were awarded $17,207.16 cost-share money to help with our soil quality restoration. We plan to incorporate compost into the topsoil on over one half of our property. This will be the largest soil quality restoration project undertaken in Iowa. So not only are we being sustainable; we are also being restorative at Prairie Hill.

Del Holland

An Article on Shared Ownership

Here's a link to an interesting article, submitted by Scott:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Visit to Another Cohousing Community

One of the fun things about being a member of a cohousing community is that you are welcome to visit the hundreds of other communities around the US and the rest of the world. Almost all cohousing communities have guest rooms. Prairie Hill member Nan Fawcett recently spent a week staying in one of these guest rooms at Westgate Cohousing in Asheville, North Carolina.

Here is a view from the spacious deck of the commonhouse 

It is informative and inspiring to visit other co-ho communities when you are in the process of planning and building your own, so Nan learned as much as she could about what has worked at Westgate, and what they would do differently. The buildings and layout there are beautiful, with multicolored units, lovely plantings along pathways, plenty of space for gardening (see below) and a large commonhouse for meals, meetings, hanging out, laundry, exercise, and guests.

Terraced garden and long bridge connecting homes

As in most cohousing developments, the parking at Westgate is totally on the perimeter, even fenced off from the housing area. This makes for a protected and safe space for the residents and their children.

Enter here to walk past the 25 residences

Nan's visit to North Carolina was actually focused on being with her daughter and family who live in Asheville. The availability of Westgate's guest room made it possible to escape to a quiet and comfortable space after busy days with the family.

Grandson Henry holds a salamander while Gus looks on

Two Prairie Hill Members Speak Out!

Mary Beth at the potium

On November 12, 2015, the Iowa Utilities Board held a public comment hearing in Boone, Iowa. This day of public comment preceded the formal hearing which is continuing for about two weeks on a petition filed for a hazardous liquid pipeline permit that would take crude oil from northwestern North Dakota to Pakota, Illinois through 18 countied in Iowa on its way to the Gulf Coast. Approximately 5700,000 barrels per day of crude oil would be transported through the 1,134 miles of pipeline bisecting the state of Iowa.

Prairie Hill members Marcia Shaffer and Mary Beth Versgrove attended the hearing the both spoke in opposition to the pipeline permit along with about 150 others who attended the hearing to express their concerns about the proposed pipeline. Both Marcia and Mary Beth are members of 100 Grannies for a Livable Future, a group from Iowa City who have a central mission to educate and advocate for a fossil-free future. A delegation of 10 Grannies all opposed the pipeline in Iowa which directly would violate the rights of Iowans and at the same time the rights of nature.

Here's Marcia in the green Grannie's t-shirt