By Jennifer Von Ohlen
DASSEL, MN After more than 40 years of building homes within central Minnesota, Kevin Compton and his wife, Carolyn, of Compton Anderson Construction, Inc. have decided to bring their skills to the Dassel community.
Kevin started his business in 1977, and has been doing much of his work in Hutchinson, where he now has 13 finished developments.
The Comptons were actually preparing for retirement when Meeker County approached Kevin about the Highland Meadows development in Dassel. Kevin was told the owner was simply looking to sell, and that the infrastructure was already in place.
Having that work already done, in addition to having attended Dassel High School (and considering himself to be raised in Dassel, though he lived in Darwin), Kevin and Carolyn (who grew up in Cokato) decided to go for it.
“I thought, you know, I’m getting close to retirement. It would be kinda fun to do a development [in Dassel] before I decide to retire,” Kevin stated.
With that, the Comptons purchased 32 lots and renamed their purchased area Highland Ridge.
“It’s just nice to come back to this area to finish our careers,” added Carolyn, who manages the paperwork and stages the properties for showings.
Filling a need
Kevin doesn’t want to simply apply his home-building skills to Dassel, however. He wants his product to help meet some of the city’s needs.
In particular, he wants to provide more townhomes.
“A ton of people called me and said, ‘you know, Dassel really needs something like this,’” Kevin stated, adding that he, himself, had noticed the shortage in townhomes.
“I live on Lake Stella [near Darwin], and we had a neighbor [whose] husband passed away a number of years ago and she originally came from Dassel, and she needed to go into something like this and there was nothing,” he said.
She ended up being placed in Hutchinson, which didn’t feel like home to her.
“That’s where I really saw the need,” Kevin commented. “And I’d been told by other people [that] there’s a lot of people who want to retire in this town, but there’s nowhere to go. There’s a few townhomes that have been built over the years here, but until someone either goes into a nursing home or passes away, they’re not available.”
So, he began working on plans for townhomes, using mostly local Dassel subcontractors.
Kevin said he plans on building twenty 1,500-square-foot townhomes, eight smaller patio homes (1,000 to 1,300-square-foot, which would be compatible for single or widowed homeowners), and four large townhomes of about 1,760-square-foot.
The homes will become part of a homeowner association, but Kevin wants the owners to establish it so it can be the way they want.
A model home of the 1,500-square-foot townhome has been constructed within the development, where the Comptons have hosted two open houses and are planning another next weekend, Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 from 1 to 4 p.m.
In remembering that many of the people looking for these types of homes are 55 years old or older, Kevin has designed his homes to be as senior-friendly as possible.
Some of his favorite features about the home include:
• in-floor heating in the house and garage;
• a second bedroom (which could be used as a den);
• the spacious laundry room;
• a open kitchen, dining room, living room, and office area;
• several cupboards; and
• a master bedroom, bathroom, and walk-in closet.
“It’s also very handicap-accessible,” Carolyn added. “It’s all 3-foot [wide] doors.”
One feature Kevin has not installed, and does not find necessary, is a basement.
“There really isn’t a need,” he commented. “Part of the reason you’re moving is to downsize, to eliminate steps.”
Although interested parties may become concerned about where to seek shelter in bad weather, Kevin said the utility room is “pretty much storm-proof.”
An 8-inch concrete wall also lies between the two units, which makes the homes soundproofed from each other.
Hometown brings familiar faces
At the open houses the Comptons have had so far, Kevin has been pleasantly surprised to see many of his former classmates walk through, as well as homeowners currently residing in homes he built years before.
“I had one lady come in here [and] say, ‘You built my house,’ and I did, 40 years ago on Big Swan Lake for her husband,” shared Kevin.
She wasn’t the only potential repeat customer Kevin has interacted with, however.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career that I do a lot of work for the same people,” he stated, adding that he has built two homes for many of his customers, and even just finished a fourth home for a customer this past year.
“I really do pride myself on quality, and that’s been throughout my whole career,” Kevin commented.
Others have noticed Kevin’s craftsmanship, too.
During the first open house, Kevin was asked if he’d be interested in taking over a development in Litchfield that somebody else had started. He declined the offer.
“We’re supposed to be retired!” Carolyn laughingly stated.
“The only reason I actually, honestly took this job is because of the ties [of] going to school here, and knowing people here, and being in the community for that amount of years back then,” Kevin explained.
He added that he has been very pleased with the work he and Carolyn have done side-by-side.
“I think we’ve done really well, and we work really well together,” he said, half-joking that they’re still together, after all.
“Time has gone fast,” reflected Carolyn. “From starting on our own to, ‘Is it time to retire already?’ Oh well. It’s been fun.”