Dows Farm Concept Plan

​What's New:
Next Steps for the Dows Farm Concept Plan

May 4, 2018:
Starting July 1, 2018, Linn County Planning & Development will begin the process of conducting background studies, refining the design concept based on feedback from the open house, and creating the development strategies and design guidelines and standards. 

Free Lecture:
Going Beyond ‘It’ll Do’ Development, May 23

The public is invited to a special presentation hosted by the City of Cedar Rapids and the Iowa Chapter of the Urban Land Institute: 

Wednesday, May 23
5:30 p.m. 
Cedar Rapids Public Library Whipple Auditorium (450 5th Avenue SE)

Residents, elected officials, and local developers are invited to hear guest speaker Tom Murphy, former mayor of Pittsburgh and senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute, as he presents “Going Beyond ‘It’ll Do’ Development.” 

More than 150 people attended the open house and unveiling of the Dows Farm Concept Plan on April 12, 2018. The design concept envisions development of the 179-acre Dows Farm property in a sustainable manner that incorporates and protects the site’s significant environmental features and respects its agricultural heritage. 

The Dows Farm Concept Plan includes:

  • A working farm to grow healthy foods using sustainable farming practices
  • Trail connections
  • Greenways and open space to protect Squaw Creek
  • A mix of housing types with a thoughtful integration of commercial uses
  • 75 percent of the Dows Farm land is planned as open green space or working farm

Working Farm                   43 acres

Conservation                     88 acres

Development                     48 acres (commercial and residential)

Commercial         40,700 gross square feet

Single-family        186 dwelling units

Multi-family           94 dwelling units

Apartments           101 dwelling units

Estimated Economic Value:    $93 to $119 million

Estimated Land Value per Concept Plan: $4.5 million

The following material was presented at the open house:

Presentation slides (PDF)

Dows Farm Concept Plan (PDF) 

Trails & Conservation Concept:

  • Provide connecting trails for walking and biking within the development and as extensions of existing and planned trail systems
  • Provide trail alignments that respond to floodplain/floodway conditions while also providing shaded environments that interact with the stream’s riparian environment
  • Riparian park with range of activities that interact with the riparian environment including play, exploration, gathering, education, relaxation, fitness, special events
  • Showcase current best practices in environmental restoration, trail design, and stormwater management

Working Farm Concept:

  • Preserve and enhance the existing farmstead site, including farm house, barn and paddock
  • Farm operator/manager to live on-site
  • A mix of horticultural crops including, fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers and pollinator habitat
  • Livestock may include goats, sheep, small cow breeds, alpacas, llamas, or chickens
  • The farm can be used for farm-related events, and as a teaching laboratory with hands-on learning opportunities for children and adults

Mixed-Use Housing and Commercial Concept:

  • A strong focus on design and quality
  • A mix of housing types to provide a range of housing opportunities that create a sense of community
  • Easy access to open space and trails from all neighborhoods


Benchmarking for the Dows Farm project emphasizes the desire for a unique development that includes significant open space systems, both agricultural as well as conservation based, with the development character/quality influenced by the site’s agricultural heritage. The following are benchmark examples considered during the concept planning phase for Dows Farm:

Serenbe Community (Georgia)

Jackson Meadow (Minnesota)

Prairie Crossing (Illinois)

Farmer's Table (Iowa)

Stonebarn Center (Upstate New York)


Send us your feedback on the concept plan using this online feedback form or email us at:

About Dows Farm

The Dows Farm is 179 acres of rolling farmland, pasture, and stream buffer under the ownership of Linn County since 2016. Dows Farm is located on the west side of the Highway 13 corridor, bordered by Mt. Vernon Road, Dows Road, Cottage Grove Parkway, and Squaw Creek Road.

Serenbe Community (Atlanta metropolitan area)

Prairie Crossing (Illinois)

Serenbe Community (Atlanta metropolitan area)

Prairie Crossing (Illinois)