With approximately 2,200 acres that stretch over two and a half square miles, the Jonathan Association in Chaska is more than just a community within a community; it’s a family. “Henry McKnight’s vision was to create a new town named after the explorer Jonathan Carver, with a mix of multiple housing, single housing and Section 8 housing,” says Deb Perry, former Jonathan Association Board member. “It was housing for all economic levels.”
Today, about 8,000 people live in the Jonathan Association community. Jonathan functions the same as any community within the greater metro area. “We have schools, shopping and churches,” says Perry, who has lived in Jonathan since 1987. “The only thing that didn’t come to fruition for Henry was a train station. He had vision beyond his years.” (McKnight also envisioned a population of 50,000 for Jonathan, which didn’t happen.)
An interesting fact about Jonathan residences: All addresses are six digits long, and organized in a way to signify the village you live in, the neighborhood and your house number. McKnight developed the addresses this way because he felt that someday all addresses would be connected by computers. “Back around 1968, [McKnight] envisioned everyone having a computer in their home,” says Deb’s husband, Mark Perry, president of the Jonathan Association Board.
In cultivating the new community, McKnight helped develop the Jonathan Development Corp., and it was through this corporation that future residents were able to take stock of the land and decide if they wanted to be part of it.
Lake Grace, which is named after Henry’s wife, was a major attraction. It became the center of social activities with canoeing, a beach with lifeguards on duty, a pavilion and a picnic area.
Association members pay an annual $249 fee, which helps Jonathan’s management organization with maintenance, such as tree trimming, mowing, snow plowing, tarring, trail maps and keeping the tot lots and playgrounds safe for children. A nine-member volunteer board oversees all other items. “We host activities, such as our Fourth of July parade for the kids, festival of garage sales, National Night Out and neighborhood clean-ups,” Mark Perry says.
A favorite among the children in the association is the Cocoa & Coasting Sledding Party during the second Friday in December. “We serve cocoa and cookies and have prizes for the kids,” Deb Perry says. “When there is snow, the kids do a lot of sledding down the hill. This past year we didn’t have any snow for Christmas, so we played croquet and the kids ran up and down the hill instead. They had a blast.”
With events that entertain and engage neighbors, it is no wonder the Perrys enjoy Jonathan. “It’s a great place to raise a family,” says Perry, who raised her four children in the community. “It is always safe, you don’t have to worry about them playing outside and they can walk the paths to go to the beach.”
For this couple, Jonathan has been a good place to settle down and enjoy their community, but always have the option to explore. “It’s close to the city, but not in the city and just has a small-town atmosphere,” Perry says. “That has been great.”
Festival of Garage Sales
One of Jonathan’s most popular events is the annual festival of garage sales, which features hundreds of sales and attracts bargain hunters throughout the metro area. The sales run 8 a.m.– 3 p.m. April 25 in Jonathan. Pick up your sale map at the Chaska School District Office.
For details, visit jonathanin chaska.com.