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Iowa City Group Working on Cohousing Project

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--A group in Iowa City is working to bring a first-of-its-kind housing opportunity to the state.

It's called co-housing and just today project leaders filed a re-zoning application with the city of Iowa City.

Next to Miller Avenue and Benton Street in Iowa City is a park.

Follow its trail and you'll eventually reach the proposed site of prairie hill, or what might be the state's first cohousing project.

"Originally there were a group of people who got together to talk about retirement options and at some point decided that it was pretty boring to just live together all old people, said board member, Barbara Bailey.

Then came the idea of cohousing. It's basically a series of houses that are not only smaller than average homes but closer together; it also comes with another building known as a common house.

"So instead of having to have a guest room in my house, I'll have a guest room available to me in the common house so my house can be one size smaller, another member Del Holland.

Those involved with the project say it's taken almost five years to get here. First they had to invest and raise the 295,000 dollars needed to purchase this land.

The homes will be energy efficient and will come with various community gardens.

Members say the plan is to make it multi-generational.

"It is like building a community. It's a community or a real tight neighborhood where you know that you can go next door and borrow something. You know that something can come to your house and say they can you help me, said member Annie Tucker.

Members hope to break ground sometime this summer.

They say the homes will come with down payment assistance and are looking for others to join in, but it's not a done deal yet.

City council still needs to approve the project.
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