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posted: 11/30/2012 5:00 AM

Hampshire Prairie offers small town atmosphere

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  • There are about 200 houses in the Hampshire Prairie neighborhood in Hampshire. Many have views of farm fields that border town.

       There are about 200 houses in the Hampshire Prairie neighborhood in Hampshire. Many have views of farm fields that border town.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • These homes along Sawgrass Lane in the Hampshire Prairie are typical of the neighborhood, which features ranches and two-story houses.

       These homes along Sawgrass Lane in the Hampshire Prairie are typical of the neighborhood, which features ranches and two-story houses.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • The Chick 'n Dip restaurant is a fixture in downtown Hampshire.

       The Chick 'n Dip restaurant is a fixture in downtown Hampshire.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer, 2010

 
By Sherry Giewald
Daily Herald Correspondent

Residents of Hampshire Prairie hear sounds of country life from their neat, tree-lined subdivision in Hampshire.

Michelle and Scott Johnston moved to the subdivision 11 years ago from an older part of town. "We hear roosters crowing and can still see a farm and corn field out back," Michelle Johnston said.

Originally from Wisconsin, the couple liked Hampshire's small town atmosphere, and it reminded Scott of his hometown.

When they sought a home with central air and an attached garage, the couple looked in Hampshire and the surrounding areas. "Then all of a sudden I found this house on Prairieview (Parkway), and something said we needed to stay in Hampshire," Johnston said. " Although we don't have any family here, we had built friendships when we lived in town, and we didn't want to leave our friends.

"We like that all the schools are in the same community, and our boys can ride their bikes to school and practices. Also, they like to ride downtown to the library and Chick 'n Dip, a little drive-in restaurant that serves chicken and ice cream.

"We've added on to our house, so we'll be here for a while. It's a good fit."

The subdivision sits west of State Street and just north of Route 72, a convenient location with easy access to I-90. This was a big plus for the Johnstons who can easily head west to go to Wisconsin and east to their jobs.

"There are people who have lived in Hampshire forever and new people who have moved in -- we have old and new," Johnston said.

Hampshire Prairie features custom homes -- ranches, two-stories and a few streets with very nice duplexes, said Lisa Klein Rossow, broker-owner of Century 21 New Heritage, which has offices in Hampshire, Marengo and Huntley.

"It's a friendly neighborhood with lots of kids," Rossow said. "People like that it's very safe for kids to ride their bikes around, and parents don't need to worry about a lot of traffic."

The subdivision of 200 homes features sidewalks and streetlights, and a lot of houses back up to open space where there are a lot of retention areas. They only get retention water with a very hard downpour though, so kids use the space for baseball, football and other outdoor activities, Rossow said. "For those people, it's like having a big backyard."

People like walking to the little old-fashioned downtown where everyone knows your name and knows everyone's kids. They can also walk to the park down the street and Bruce Ream Park just north of the subdivision.

"With affordable prices, Hampshire is a good place to put down roots for people looking for a country feel with city conveniences," Rossow said.

"People might have the impression that there's nothing here. But Hampshire is a growing town; even with the economy, it's slowly making a comeback. We have new businesses, the new Hampshire Pharmacy, quite a few restaurants and a grocery store.

"We're seeing some good activity in real estate and city development. Casey's gas station and convenience store just opened down the street on Route 72. And we have a brand new state-of-the-art school campus outside of town."

Small town charm, rolling hills and scattered farms give Hampshire a unique character that draws homebuyers to Kane County.

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