PLANS TO transform a 31-acre parcel of land 6 miles from downtown Madison, Wis., into a mixed-income housing community began in 1995. The past 13 years haven't been spent in vain. After years of fundraising and development work, Madison Area Community Land Trust purchased the property from the state of Wisconsin, leased 26 acres to Friends of Troy Gardens—a local long-time steward of natural areas—and built a 30-unit mixed-income townhome community with 20 affordable units. Two- and three-bedroom units, which were completed in 2007, sold for a base market-rate price of $149,500 to $189,500; the same units were sold to income-restricted buyers for $109,500 and $139,500, respectively.

The open space houses an organic farm, community gardens, a prairie, and a wildlife habitat that includes a wide variety of animals such as deer, rabbits, multiple species of birds, and snakes. The goal was to create a community where anyone could live and everyone would be welcome. Plus, a co-housing setup allows residents to actively participate in the design and operation of the neighborhoods.

The sleek, barrier-free design and accessible features earned Troy Gardens a 2007 Livable Communities award from the National Association of Home Builders for creating user-friendly homes appropriate for all ages and abilities.

Not shown in the photos below are additional accessible features:

  • Multiple wheelchair-accessible entrances are offered in two-thirds of the units.
  • Removable bathroom cabinets allow easier access for persons in wheelchairs.
  • Residents can choose between a roll-in shower or tub with grab bars.