Herald JournalHerald Journal, Aug. 29, 2005

Mayer has tripled, probably will again

By Jenni Sebora

For more than 18 years, Mayer City Clerk Lois Maetzold worked out of a cardboard box of files and conducted city business out of her home, which was, in effect, the “city hall.”

A lot has changed in Mayer over the course of nearly two decades, including its population and growth.

According to the US Census Bureau, the city’s 1990 population was 471, and 15 years later, its population has almost tripled, to about 1,100, Mayor Gerald Thomas said.

And it’s not stopping there. The estimated population for Mayer in 2020 is 2,550 and in 2030, it is estimated that 3,500 people will reside in Mayer, according to the Metropolitan Council.

Last year, 87 building permits were issued, which exceeded the 70 permit estimation by the city staff, mayor, and council members.

“We have been on the conservative side when estimating the number of building permits and construction of homes, and we’ve always exceeded our estimation,” Thomas said.

“We’ve estimated approximately the same number of permits for this year as we did last year, but in the near future, the permits issued may be closer to between 150 and 200,” City Administrator Luayn Murphy said.

With this population and new construction growth, the city staff has also grown. Maetzold is no longer the sole city employee, and “city hall” is no longer in her home.

A city clerk, city administrator, city planner, and a public works director now conduct city business in the Mayer Community Center, equipped with more than just a cardboard box of files.

“Since 2004, we’ve had a full-time city administrator. We shared a city planner with Watertown, but because of Watertown’s growth, it needed a full-time city planner, and because of our growth, we did, too,” Thomas said.

Maetzold has been the city clerk for 25 years and enjoyed working out of her home for the majority of those years. The city clerk prior to Maetzold also worked out of her home for 25 years. But Maetzold welcomed the addition of the new staff and the move to the city hall.

“Everyone knew me and called me at home. Residents dropped off their water bills and such at my home. People still know me, and will still call me at home sometimes, and I don’t mind it,” Maetzold said.

In fact, when the first developments were brought to the city for discussion and approval, Maetzold recalls the meetings with the city council and the developers being held at her dining table.

With the population explosion and the increase in development, that has also changed. The addition of a city administrator and city planner has been necessary because of the intricacies and technicalities that go with development, Thomas noted and Maetzold agreed.

“Not everyone understands the necessity of these positions, but you need people who are educated in these areas so the city can move forward with its plans instead of taking steps backwards,” Maetzold said.

Although Maetzold has much “help,” she is still kept busy.

“Now, I can focus on the utilities, accounts payable and receivable – the financial aspects and the everyday functioning of the city affairs,” Maetzold said.

And, it seems, the city staff will all keep busy as the various developments continue to progress.

The next phase of Coldwater Crossing, on the west side of the city, is presently being negotiated, and will add 33 single family lots. This sixth addition will extend both Rocky Meadow Lane and Coldwater Crossing to the west, and there are two more possible additions to this development, which would make the total number of building sites 350 when completed, Murphy noted.

Sunset Meadows is a 48-unit town home subdivision that will be located on approximately nine areas of land between Coldwater Crossing and Canary Avenue, north of Carver County Road 30 and west of Highway 25.

“Sunset Meadows is a planned unit development, geared for people such as empty nesters. It has just begun moving dirt and is underway,” Murphy said.

Fieldstone, on the northeast side of Mayer, has seen platting activity this year. The first addition has received final plat approval from the city council, while the second addition has received preliminary plat approval.

The first addition includes 52 single family lots, nine detached town home lots, and various park and open space lots, Murphy noted.

The second addition includes 160 single family lots, with various park and open space lots.

The developer expects to phase this addition into three or four phases. The overall Fieldstone project extends from 62nd Street to Highway 7, east of Highway 25.

The developer also has land set aside for a possible future public elementary school in the Fieldstone development.

“A new school would be very positive for the community. It would add a little more identity to the city,” Thomas said.

Murphy noted that when all is said and done, Fieldstone could have 1,500 building sites, and when the annexations are approved, it will bring the City of Mayer to Highway 7.

Hidden Creek, on the southwest side of Mayer, is in its fourth addition, and the city may see plans for the fifth addition yet this year. When this development has reached its completion, 400 building sites will be housed there.

Looking ahead, Murphy also sees senior housing as a need in the development plans.

For recreation, the city constructed a new playground last year and is looking at adding some trails and other amenities, Thomas said.

“Along with growth and development, comes some growing pains too,” Murphy said, noting that additions of a new water tower and wastewater treatment have been necessary, and a new water filter plant will most likely be constructed next year.

On the industrial side of development and construction, Mayer also has a new industrial park on the southeast side.

“The industrial park is about one-half to two-thirds full and includes landscaping and excavating business, a cabinet shop, a business condo, body shops, and storage facilities,” Thomas said.

“We hope to outgrow the industrial park and expand upon it,” Murphy said.

And an economic development authority has been established to help with the development of businesses and the upkeep and rehabilitation of the downtown area.

“One of the goals of the EDA is to attract or retain businesses,” Murphy said.

“The EDA is also looking at the businesses downtown, as well,” Thomas said.

Keeping that small town, rural atmosphere is important and is the reason why many residents have chosen to live in Mayer, Murphy said. Thomas agrees that the small town atmosphere is something they don’t want to change.

Through a citizens’ survey that was conducted, information revealed that people are moving here and live here because of the small town, rural flavor,” Murphy said. “And with the help of small city grants, we want to keep that small town, rural atmosphere that the downtown offers.”

“We have the best of both worlds – rural in character, but close enough to go to Orchestra Hall in the Twin Cities,” Maetzold said.

“We are a bedroom community. We have a small town, country atmosphere, but we are close to and accessible to many amenities, such as shopping. We are about 25 miles from Hutchinson, 25 miles from Buffalo, and about 25 miles from the western suburbs,” Thomas said.

“I have lived in Mayer, in the same house, for 35 years and have enjoyed living here,” he added.

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