By Joshua Schuetz
Cannon Falls, a picturesque community nestled between the Twin Cities and Rochester along Highway 52, has seen a modest increase in population over the past decade. From 2010 to 2020, the town grew by 137 people, marking a 3 percent uptick, notably lower than other communities along the corridor, which were doubling or even tripling their percentages.
Now, Cannon Falls Economic Development Authority is breaking ground on a major housing development that community leaders hope will spur more population growth, alleviating the city’s workforce shortage and bringing more residents and students to town.
“We want to create a larger pool of housing for our workforce,” CEDA team member Laura Qualey said, citing the challenges of transportation and the need for more housing options. The project’s first phase, comprising 29 lots, broke ground just before Thanksgiving, with storm sewer installation already underway and small utilities slated for installation yet this winter.
The Cannon Falls EDA used money from its revolving loan fund to purchase the 40 acre property and an interfund loan from the city’s general reserve funds to make the project work. To market the lots effectively, the EDA adopted a strategic partnership with a local realtor- builder out of Dundas. This collaboration not only showcases various building options but also provides a cost-effective marketing campaign without the need for commissions.
Qualey anticipates a promising spring ahead, with plans to start on the second phase once half the lots are sold. Other local developers have taken notice as the Hardwood Estates project gains traction indicating a positive shift in Cannon Falls’ housing landscape. In another part of the city, a developer has recently purchased a failed development that took place decades ago, with plans to build 15 homes on the property.
As Cannon Falls looks to the future with optimism, the Hardwood Estates project stands as a testament to the community’s resilience, strategic planning, and commitment to fostering growth.