Sept. 4, 2006

Lester Prairie's East Park Estates

By Jenni Sebora

A country atmosphere, location, close proximity to a nature park, and housing options are just some of the positive aspects of East Park Estates housing development in Lester Prairie.

Formerly the Irene Schmidt estate, East Park Estates, which sits on the east side of Lester Prairie next to Sunrise Nature Park, got its start in 2004 by developer and builder Lenny Juncewski and wife, Linda.

The development consists of single-family homes and town homes.

East Park Estates and long-time Lester Prairie residents, Larry and Joyce Burandt and Maxine Almquist enjoy the maintenance-free yard work that living in the town homes has to offer.

“I liked the idea that I didn’t have to cut lawn, shovel snow,” Almquist said, when she was looking at purchasing a town home in East Park Estates.

Both Almquist and the Burandts owned homes in Lester Prairie and wanted to “stay put” in the community, but wanted to downsize.

“We needed to downsize, but we still wanted to be a part of Lester Prairie,” Joyce Burandt said.

Remaining a part of the community was important for Almquist as well, who noted that having its own grocery store, school, hardware store and café, among other businesses, are pluses for the city.

And soon, a new medical clinic will be right next door to East Park Estates, on the west side of County Road 9.

“I like the grocery store, meat market, Angvalls (hardware store). They are pluses for Lester Prairie,” Almquist said.

“Central Café is good too,” she added.

Almquist, who supports Lester Prairie Schools, also supported the school’s operating levy that recently passed.

“I’m glad that the school bond went through. It’s a good thing,” Almquist said.

The school system was among the decision-making factors in the McBee’s move to East Park Estates in Lester Prairie.

Robert and Cathy McBee, who have two school-aged children and a younger child, moved to the community from Iowa this last year.

The McBees were searching for a newer home in a community that was within commuting distance to the Twin Cities and Hutchinson and had a good school system.

“We heard good things about the school (Lester Prairie Public School). The school was a major factor in our decision (to move to Lester Prairie),” Robert said.

The McBees also did their homework on housing cost comparisons in different communities, which was another factor in their decision to move to Lester Prairie and East Park Estates.

The McBees bought a model home in East Park Estates, which met their desire to reside in a newer home versus an older home that requires more maintenance.

And the McBee family has been happy with their move, Robert noted.

“We’ve had a great experience here,” Robert said.

A major reason for that “great experience” has been the friendly neighbors and people in the community, Robert noted.

“The people are very friendly. We really like the people,” Robert said.

Although the Burandts are not new to Lester Prairie, they are new to the East Park Estates housing development and have also experienced the same friendliness among the neighborhood.

“The people in the neighborhood are so friendly. All the people we’ve met in the neighborhood are so nice,” Joyce Burandt stressed.

That neighborhood friendliness has also taken the shape of a recent neighborhood block party, Almquist explained.

In addition to the neighborhood, Almquist is also very happy with the town home itself, which is about 1,500 square feet, she explained.

“I like the town home. I like the outlay,” Almquist said.

All of the town home units are maintenance-free with vinyl siding and brick exterior, and have at least two bedrooms, a two-car garage, and at least one gas fireplace.

The town homes have been a popular housing choice as almost all of the town homes in the five town home buildings have been pretty much sold, Juncewski noted.

And although the development offers open construction (open to other builders), Juncewski has constructed all of the town homes.

Of the 108 totals lots in the development, there are only seven lots left, Juncewksi noted. The remaining lofts are approximately 100 by 200 feet in size and abut the Sunrise Nature Park, he added.

This location is also a positive aspect of the development, residents feel.

“I love it out here. I love our location. Sunrise Nature Park is right in our backyard,” Burandt said.

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