About 45 miles northwest of Chicago, Prairie Crossing is one of the nation’s first conservation communities, demonstrating how ecologically sensitive development can be the economic engine for land conservation and stewardship. Homes are clustered on a quarter of the site, leaving 470 acres in restored prairie, constructed wetlands or agricultural land. The community includes transit-oriented development adjacent to a commuter rail station with service to Chicago and O’Hare International Airport.
Amenities include a restored 1880’s barn to serve as a community and fitness center and a charter elementary school, which emphasizes citizenship and learning from experiences of the natural environment. The Prairie Crossing Farm allows residents and the larger community to buy fresh organic produce, while horse owners manage the Prairie Crossing Stable and adjoining pastures. Neighbors meet to walk, bike, horseback ride or ski the 10 miles of trails within the community, which is part of the 5,800-acre Liberty Prairie Reserve. And a 22-acre lake allows residents to swim, fish, canoe, or ice skate, while also anchoring an innovative stormwater management system, which also helped to cut infrastructure costs by $1.2 million.
Part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building American and Energy Star programs, Prairie Crossing’s green building practices result in home energy costs that are 50% of conventional homes. Widely acclaimed by the national media, the community has sold at a premium since inception, and resales now command more than a 100 percent premium over comparable homes in the submarket.