Their website says:
Our community has grown a lot since the early founding days of the 1940’s, but the foundation laid by the early visionaries remains vibrant today in neighborhoods all across the community. Their goal of creating a cooperative spirit is still seen today in the only municipal gas utility in the metro area, providing natural gas service to residents while supporting community services rather than investors.
Every community has challenges and while our city is fully built out so facing no new development, we continue working hard to protect and preserve our natural environment, support and sustain our high quality schools, and maintain our streets and other infrastructure. We’re fortunate to have so many talented people involved in our Parks, Planning and Utilities Commissions, and to have citizens with a strong sense of volunteerism and civility.
In 1945, while lying in the shade of the trees at the picnic ground at Golden Lake after swimming V.S. Petersen sat up and announced "I have an idea".
V.S. Petersen found two men sympathetic to cooperative notions. They were Thomas Ellerbe, head of the engineering and architecture firm that did the Ramsey County Courthouse in St. Paul, and Paul Steenberg. Steenberg was president of Steenberg Construction Company that had built the Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota.
In May of 1946 the cooperative village of 1,203 acres was announced "to unite the habitation benefits of a functional and contemporary community with the economic advantages of a consumer's cooperative." Each home would front a park or a walkway. There would be adult education, nurseries, educational and recreational activities; and the commercial facilities and services would be owned cooperatively, as would the municipal utilities. The minimum housing costs within 3 specified areas were set at $4,000, $6,000, and $8,000. The maximum for a house was set at $20,000. Each buyer had to purchase at least one share in the cooperative, @ $100 per share.
If an owner decided to sell their home, the development association held the first option to buy. The terms were decided by a three-member panel representing the association, the owner and a neutral party. The developers anticipated construction of 500 homes in the first two years, and that it would take five years to complete the total project. The 3 developers planned to turn over control of the development to the homeowners upon completion. For every 500 homes sold, one of the sponsors' three votes would be transferred to the residents.
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