You could also do a prairie planting. Switchgrass, bluestem, echinacea, rudbeckia, rattlesnake master, false indigo, joe pye….there’s tons of gorgeous native plants perfectly adapted for your climate that die back to the ground in the winter. A planned prairie/meadow, once established, really only needs to be maintained once a year, typically a mowing or bushwhacking at the end of winter. But you could also do that at the end of fall. It doesn’t provide as much habitat for critters that way, but we can’t let the Perfect be the enemy of the Good.
There are a few decent books around about creating this kind planting.
Larry Weaner’s Gardening Revolution has a chapter about it.
James Golden’s View From Federal Twist discusses the techniques he used.
There are a number of others that I’d list (I have them on my bookshelf), but I’m sick on the couch. I see this thread is a few months old, but let me know if you’re interested and I can do another reply later on.
I’m interested in what you do, as my parents are in a similar situation. They have an awesome sledding hill, and they want to keep it mostly open, but as my father ages, he’s far less interested in driving his lawnmower up and down a steep and sometimes slippery grade. We have talked about establishing a meadow there. I’m in the analysis-paralysis part of the project, hahaha.