The multicolored segments on a development map of the city of Carver, particularly on the west side of Jonathan Carver Parkway, tell quite a story.
City Manager Brent Mareck and City Planner Erin Smith, in a recent joint interview, say those colors indicate massive changes to the community, and a few headaches along the way, for city officials to keep up with the changes.
“For about 100 years Carver was 600 to 700 people, and the 2000 census had us at about 1,200,” Mareck said. “We’re now on the doorstep of 5,000. It will be an interesting dynamic to see how different parts of the community react to that growth.”
When Mareck started with the city about nine years ago, “the only thing west of the parkway was the fire station. The rest was farm fields.”
Now, in that same area, there are separate housing developments of 151 units, 197 units, 83 units and 81 units, said Smith. And planning is underway for a 306-unit development that has not yet received official city approval.
Plus the 30-acre site at the southwest corner of Highway 212 and Jonathan Carver Parkway is zoned for a gas station/convenience store user and could add a restaurant and even a grocery store.
Smith said United Properties has owned that property since 2006. While a “large section” of that property would be required for ponds, Smith said there is “plenty of room for additional commercial building” at that location.
When asked what other businesses the city might desire at that location, Smith said, “there have been some conversations, but no formal plans. What we hear a lot about is that people are looking for more sit-down restaurant options.”
Mareck added: “A lot of people have talked about a grocery store. Much of what happens there will come in phases.”
Discussions and plans about massive housing developments and possible business additions to that area causes the city to make sure it has the appropriate water supply and treatment facilities to handle those projects.
“We will be diving headlong into that topic over the next couple of years,” Mareck said.
Lakeview Industries is in the process of constructing a 194,000-square-foot facility near the northwest corner of Highway 212 and Jonathan Carver Parkway. A new city hall is under construction in the downtown district, and the two-story, 70-unit, 74,172-square-foot Carver Ridge assisted living and memory care facility on Sixth Street is moving along quickly.
Coordinating the growth in a responsible manner is extremely important to city officials, Mareck added.
“For a community that has a lot of pride in heritage and its historic downtown, we are a new city in many ways,” he said. “There are probably more people who have lived here for less than 20 years than more.
“Building community is going to be paramount, which is a reason we are excited about the new city hall and space, where it gives an opportunity for people to come together,” Mareck said. “There will be serious conversations about how we grow and where.”
For now, the growth is along the west side of Jonathan Carver Parkway, where farm fields are turning into residential areas on the fast track.
“One of the major challenges for the community is the understanding that when you build here and see a farm field in your backyard and love the view, that within a year’s time that field could be filled with a series of backhoes, payloaders and the sounds of construction,” Mareck said. “There certainly is a lot going on.”