Jordan is changing.

And not everyone is going to like the changes.

For starters, Jordan is growing. Thirty-four new home building permits were issued between January and October in 2020.

Last year the city issued 36 single-family permits, plus a single permit for 28 rental townhomes at Pineview (in the Wexford Square area). One of the permits was for 59 new units in Brentwood Square, which will be filled mostly by current Jordan residents.

What do those building permits mean? According to the 2010 census, the average household size in Minnesota is 2.48 persons. I don’t like the idea of .48 persons, so let’s round up to 3.00. Thirty-four homes in 10 months is 3.4 homes per month. Times 12 months is 40.8. But who’s going to live in 8/10 of a house? So lets call it 41. Forty-one times three projects to 123 people in those new homes in 2020. OK, I know it’s not perfect, but we’re just looking at trends, not absolute rock solid math, hmmm?

And last year there were 36 permits issued, for 61 new dwellings including rental townhomes. Sixty-one times three is 183 people in those homes. Add that to the 123 in 2020, and you get 306 more people in two years — 153 per year on average. That works out to an additional 1,530 persons by 2030. Which would make the city’s population 7,806 or thereabouts. Not enough people, in my opinion, to support the kind of businesses the city hopes to bring in. And having lots available for development does not necessarily equate to growth.

But . . . there’s always a but . . . some of the current residents will die or move away. The death rate in Scott County was 1,320.3 per 100,000 persons in 2014 – the most recent figures I could find. Again, if trends hold over time, a city with a population of 10,000 can expect 132 deaths per year — about 13 deaths per thousand people. A city with a population of 7,806 can expect about 101 deaths per year. The state projects that in 2020, people aged over 65 will outnumber those ages 5-17. How many people will move away? Hard to say, but in my experience at least half of all high school graduates leave home.

Then there’s the 282/169/9 overpass, which will create a fly-by intersection. It seems unlikely there will be room for a truck stop similar to what Holiday has done at highways 169 and 41. If you look at that intersection, you’ll see SuperAmerica/Speedway is gone. There will be far less reason for drivers to get off the freeway (and that’s what it will be). Not good for some of the businesses on Triangle Lane. Another example? The McDonald’s in Belle Plaine closed, probably at least in part because hoped-for business never materialized from the new fly-over intersection there.

The new overpass will also isolate downtown. It will become a destination — that is, only people intent on getting downtown will go there. And, as more people move into Jordan from elsewhere, they’ll be less attached to Historic Downtown Jordan. Jordan is not Stillwater and never will be. Sorry.

Jordan lacks things needed to draw businesses. Traffic, population, transportation connections. To make up for those shortcomings, Jordan will have to offer incentives. Think tax increment financing. Taxpayers will pay for those incentives. It might be different in 2030, and if it is, it’ll probably be more expensive.

Please understand, this is just my rough speculation of what may happen. Your crystal ball might show a different picture. Jordan doesn’t exist in a snow globe. Folks who’ve been pushing for change and growth should be prepared for some results they may not be happy with.

Thanks to City Administrator Tom Nikunen for his help in providing building permit numbers.

The Quote: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” -John F. Kennedy

Thom Boncher is a retired marketing communications manager, former Jordan City Council member and Jordan resident since 2003.

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