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Meeting Planned for Sewickley Area Co-Housing Community

Information regarding the Glen Osborne Woods project will be provided Wednesday at the Sewickley Valley YMCA.

Imagine living in a tight-knit community where you share a deeper connection with the people in your neighborhood. 

That's what co-housing is all about, according to Doug Cooper, and Glen Osborne could be next.

Cooper, chairman of the Glen Osborne Woods membership committee, is seeking people who might be interested in becoming a part of such a community. 

An informational meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 in the board room at the Sewickley Valley YMCA. The overview will include a short presentation about co-housing with slides showing visual examples, and the vision for a future multi-generational co-housing community in the Sewickley area.

Cooper said the project is preliminarily being called Glen Osborne Woods, to reflect the wooded acreage slated for use across from Osborne Elementary School. The land is currently in the feasibility stage, with site engineers testing soil conditions.

The plan would include about 24 private households, ranging from retired individuals to young families.

Cooper, who is 66, said he and his wife have together have raised five children. Where they live in the Friendship area of Pittsburgh, their large home is perfect for raising a family, but with everyone out of the house, they don’t use as much space.

"Why do we need this big gigantic house? We don’t," he said.

Stefani Danes, an architect who is also Cooper’s wife, said there are many reasons people choose to live in co-housing communities, whether it’s the welcoming feel or the security. All are connected by their desire to be a part of a community, she said.

Co-housing would allow them to purchase the size they need, while sharing common space for such activities as arts and crafts and gardening, yet still have amenities available if their children would come to visit. Members would mutually own a community house for guests to stay. The energy-efficient, low-impact units at Glen Osborne Woods would also mean lower costs for residents. 

Cooper said the co-housing concept originated in Denmark, but today there are close to 200 such communities around the United States.

As neighbors work together, making decisions on their own units and the overall design, the community builds before the shovels hit the ground.

“In other co-housing communities around the country the active engagement of people with their neighbors is a healthier way of living," Danes said. "People tend to stay active and engaged and living there for a long time, including people who are members of co-housing communities well into their 90s.”

For more information, visit www.glenosbornewoods.com

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