Minden Begins

M inden's first years could hardly be called a boom. The first houses were built in 1906 and there were 30 homes by 1920, all within four blocks of the town park. The town's population was about 100 residents.

The Town of Minden now serves 1,200 residential households. Multiply that amount by the average occupancy of 2.5 people and you find that Minden's 2006 population is 3,000.

Several housing and shopping communities developed in recent years and more on the horizon will double Minden's population in the next 10 years, according to Town of Minden board member Bob Hadfield.

Syncon Homes broke ground on model homes in January on what will be a total of 138 units. The first homes in the La Costa development will be completed this summer, with construction continuing over the next four years.

The next project for Syncon Homes is Monterra " 270 homes located between Winhaven and Minden Elementary School.

Syncon also developed 50 homes in the Minden Village Hearthstone subdivision located at Minden Village.

More homes are planned in the neighboring Village, a project by Brown and Spires.

With approximately 500 homes going in, Minden's population could increase by 1,250 residents in four years.

Minden Village, located at Lucerne Street and Ironwood Drive, is an 18-acre commercial park containing a dozen businesses, including a dentist's office, a doctor's office, and the Sierra Crest Academy charter school.

Minden Village also includes Dr. Jeffrey Collins at Carson Valley Dental Care, Dr. Steven Brown at Alpine Medical Associates, LinCare medical equipment supply, 88 Cups Internet coffeeshop, Sweetie Pies, Bella Vita Cheese and Catering, Wasabi Sushi & Asian Bistro, Carson Valley Mortgage, Quiznos, the Douglas Disposal office, A.G. Edwards, Business Bank of Nevada, Sierra Nevada Trading Co., Cold Stone Creamery, with more businesses on the way.

Sierra Nevada Trading Co. is the first grocery store in Minden since Minden Mercantile closed in 1966.

While the early mercantiles carried groceries as well as hardware and farm supplies, the new grocery store features a full-service deli, a seafood and butcher counter, a florist and produce displayed in "fresh orchard bins."

Hadfield said there's a plus side to more development.

"A denser population allows the town to do more with less cost," he said. "We can control cost and be more efficient. There will be a slow-down in housing development. Houses won't be built as quickly as they have in the past several years. We can handle the growth properly if we plan roads and construction."

Hadfield said a larger population is a two-edged sword and a challenge

"We don't have money to deal with urban problems brought in by the influx of population. We have urban problems in a rural setting. We have people who move here and say, 'I paid my share' (and don't want to support community structure). Roads and circulation are problems if we can't generate jobs in the community, if visitors can't get through town and if residents can't get to shopping.

"It's up to us to maintain the character of Minden. We have to use common sense. We have to be smarter and better than anyone to keep from being under the siege of growth."

Hadfield noted that La Costa is planned to maintain open space within the community.

"They're maintaining the drainage pond and there's the ability to walk in parks and to walk to the market. Syncon followed through and created an opportunity to maintain the area as a favored place for people to live. It's a quality development."

Hadfield said to keep in mind that the new housing developments and Minden Village are an extension of the original town of Minden.

"This is still Minden," he said. "What we have in historic downtown Minden, and what people like about Minden Village on Lucerne, are the parks and walkways. People have to know they're connected.

"Minden is a receiving area of Douglas County. This designation allows us to create ranch lands to maintain open space. It helps if the town board and residents set the tone to maintain this quality of life."


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