Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Sen. McKnight's Dream of Rational Suburban Development Was Not to Be

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Sen. McKnight's Dream of Rational Suburban Development Was Not to Be

Article excerpt

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of rapid suburban growth. City planners in these decades were frustrated with the growing problems of pollution, traffic, and creating new neighborhoods as cities spread. One solution to this idea was the "new town" movement. Designed as planned communities, these "towns" tried to organize the design and growth of the town in advance to better deal with urban sprawl. The community of Jonathan, located within the existing city of Chaska, was built along these concepts.

The idea of a "new town," designed to meet the needs of the people living there, has been around for centuries in military and trade towns. The idea did not really catch hold until an Englishman named Sir Ebenezer Howard suggested "garden cities" within the area of London in 1898. "New towns" were planned in Finland, England, Scotland and the United States.

One of the first to be built in the United States was Jonathan. Jonathan was the dream of former Minnesota state Senator Henry T. McKnight. He was known for supporting bills and acts protecting natural resources. On April 29, 1966, McKnight joined with other individuals to form the Ace Development Corporation. Ace grew into the Jonathan Development Corporation in 1967, taking the name from Jonathan Carver, the eighteenth century explorer. This self- contained town was built on eight thousand acres of woods, lakes and farmlands within Chaska city limits. Hazeltine Golf Course and the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum border it.

Planned as a town within a town, Jonathan in Chaska was meant to be built over a period of twenty years. Plans included the growth of population, industry, housing and recreation. Thinking for the long- term allowed the city to save time in future construction. It also helped protect the surrounding natural environment while allowing residents to be closer to it. …

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