Many of you know about Hope and a Future’s vision: to develop a Therapeutic Interactive Intergenerational Neighborhood (TIIN) that is sustainable and replicable. You may also know about our mission: to promote meaningful relationships between young and old, empowering individuals to serve and strengthen one another in a diverse, faith-based, green community. In this blog post, we will give you a better feel for the land itself.
Honoring the Past
When people first see our “country estate” they often wonder what we’re up to. The uniqueness of the property also evokes curiosity about its history. It is thought that the farmhouse was built in the 1880s. Mark Udvari-Solner, who did the architectural work for our accessible living addition, once told us that when he and his Father designed their own beautiful addition to the farm house more than thirty years ago, he had wondered why anyone would want to live this far out in the country! Another friend remembers riding horses out here.
Before construction of the surrounding residential subdivisions, the area boasted extensive territorial views. On a clear day from nearby hilltops, it was possible to see all the way to Lake Mendota. Today, our property’s mid-slope location, together with its trees and wildflowers, evokes the immediate area’s rural roots. The aerial photo of the property left in our possession by the previous owners, Jim and Liz, allows us to visualize this history, and to contemplate the many changes this house has seen during its existence, which spans portions of three different centuries.
With providential timing, in 2012, Rick and Karin Krause were led to move to this 5.7-acre site—a place where their vision for an intergenerational community could grow into reality. The property is located in the unincorporated Town of Middleton and surrounded by the corporate limits of the City of Madison. At the time of purchase, the site was improved with the late 19th-century-built farmhouse, which had been upgraded and added to over time. Also on-site was the old barn, still standing as of this writing. An outdoor pool with a patio and sauna had been built between the house and the barn. Much of the rest of the site was wooded, with the open areas containing natural growth. Time had taken a toll on decking and fences, trees were in need of trimming, and invasive trees and weeds needed to be removed.
Subsequent to our purchase of the property, we built a new addition to the house, which now contains accessible living space for our frail senior residents and our live-in staff. Through the sacrificial work of hundreds of volunteers and generous donations of money, resources and equipment, we have landscaped approximately one-third of the site.
Living in the Present
Today, the site work continues with further trimming and landscaping. A very productive vegetable garden has fed residents and the surrounding community through Middleton Outreach Ministry’s food pantry. Together with friends from our Garden and Grounds committee, families of former residents are currently planning a Memory Garden to honor loved ones who have lived and died as members of our community. There will be a bench for prayer or reflection, an arbor and a memory wall, where each former resident will have a personalized memory plate. We also hope to have fruit trees, a gazebo for outdoor concerts and gatherings, a walking path linking residents and neighbors, and an accessible playground for the very young to the very mature.
All of this is happening because of the family of friends that has formed here as we provide care and work with community volunteers and professionals to create the first TIIN. These friendships and working relationships represent a partial fulfillment of our spiritual vision, which is rooted in our desire to impart God’s message of hope and a future to the lives of people from different generations and backgrounds, building community by helping people to improve each other’s lives through interpersonal connection and service. Our work now also involves writing the next chapter of this property that has already seen so much history; as we plan our next steps, we seek to honor residents, neighbors and the character of this beautiful former farmstead.
As the surrounding area was developed, city planners had assumed that this property’s existing structures would eventually be razed and that roads and buildings would fill this space to the maximum degree possible. However, the City of Madison is working with us to approve the development of a unique neighborhood setting that will maintain the basic character of the property while improving access with a bike and pedestrian path through the southern portion of the site.
Planning for the Future
Integral to our plans is the construction of a 12-unit residential building, to include eight owner-occupied condominium units for people aged 55 and over, together with four rental apartment units for young families desiring community-based mentoring and support. There will also be a community space and workshop/greenhouse area. The new construction will be situated near the existing structures, meaning that much of the property will retain its low-density charm for the enjoyment of both us and our neighbors.
We are very excited about the design concept provided by our architect, Jim Gluek. The current plans will allow for the condos, the apartments and the new common areas to be under one roof. This will allow young and old, frail and strong to share life together and help each other in a weather-proof, accessible environment. In all of this, we seek to honor the past by living in the present and planning for the future.
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Written by members of the Hope & a Future community including residents, volunteers, and staff.