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Historic Farmstead Transforms into Residential Development to Provide Value for Expanding Community

mowed pathway leading to old wood barn

Walking paths connect the community to the gardens and the event space on the north edge of the development.

As part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, the Village of DeForest has been steadily attracting new residents for more than three decades. Drawn by the high-quality services and the short drive into Madison, people have flocked to the region to live, work, and raise families. For well over 100 years, Erickson Farms has made numerous contributions to this growing community’s success, with many members of the Erickson family actively engaged in civic endeavors and town projects for several generations.

Over the years, the area around the Erickson farmland evolved into a more suburban environment. As family benefactor, Elaine Erickson saw an opportunity to build on the community’s expansion and establish a lasting legacy with the creation of Heritage Gardens at Erickson Farms community development. To create the special place she envisioned, the use of green spaces and a community garden were vital components required to enhance the 512-unit development. Surrounded by agricultural, commercial, and residential properties, the 170-acre Heritage Gardens development would complement the existing land uses well.

Community Gardens, Public Spaces, & Other Landscaping Features

The prevalence of open spaces was a primary amenity used to assist in creating the unique character of Heritage Gardens at Erickson Farms. As the project progresses, greenways, active parkland, and garden developments are to be incorporated throughout the neighborhood, comprising approximately 24 percent of the total land area. Central to this design directive is the creation of Intermezzo Gardens. This elaborate garden area will be the development’s showcase, incorporating labyrinths, walking paths, in addition to perennial and interpretive gardens. Intermezzo Gardens are to be privately developed and maintained but open to the public.

Another 4.25-acre park site in the southeast corner of the development will be combined with parkland in the adjacent subdivision of Holland Fields. Together, they will establish a central community park able to support an array of recreational activities. The landscaping required throughout the subdivision contributes to neighborhood character, creates an aesthetically appealing neighborhood, and establishes a link to the Intermezzo Garden amenities. In certain areas, landscaping will also be used as a buffer to shield the area from noise and other distractions.

Stormwater Detention & Wetlands Restoration Key to Project Success

stormwater detention pond surrounded by wildflowers

Stormwater detention basins are tied to the wetlands and become a natural piece of the landscape.

The professionals with Snyder & Associates were brought on board to create designs that incorporate several infrastructure components as part of the attractive landscape. Detention basins, greenways, and swales will be strategically placed throughout the subdivision to control stormwater with all conveyance and control structures dedicated to and maintained by the public. The landscaping surrounding these areas will be seeded with natural prairie cultivars with an emphasis on blooming plants.

There are also approximately 13.7 acres of wetlands adjacent to the proposed Intermezzo Gardens and the stormwater detention facilities. An initial wetland delineation had been performed on the farmland for the original platting, however, the ensuing growth of the wetland area required a second delineation and a replatting of the property by our team. This second platting also led to our team creating a modified layout and grading plan to raise infiltration basins near the wetlands to meet the stormwater management requirements and avoid groundwater issues by establishing basement elevations above the groundwater elevation.

Further, the environmental corridors were mapped as part of the urban service area application process. These corridors were subsequently adjusted to correspond with the wetlands and other natural and recreational features, generally within areas designated as outlots on the plat.

Upscale Development Preserves Rural Setting

playground along a pathway towards residential houses

Community playgrounds dot the landscape in the new Heritage Gardens subdivision.

While about half of the single-family lots have currently been developed, Heritage Gardens will also include around 200 units of multifamily structures on the west side of the development. These units will be predominantly owner-occupied with the potential for some senior development sites in the future, as well. Additionally, neighborhood-compatible commercial and/or community space on the northwest corner of the development area is planned in future phases. When completed, Heritage Gardens at Erickson Farms will provide the Village of DeForest with housing opportunities in a serene environment while at the same time protecting the natural setting of a historic family farmstead.