Broadway City Hall Project

The History

In the 1880s Downtown Carver served as the commercial hub in the area.  Back then Carver was home to three doctors, a lawyer, a real estate and loan office, a flour mill, a grain elevator, six general stores, one carding mill, a feed mill, two farm implement dealers, two drug stores, at least two brick yards, two hardware stores, two lumber yards, a grocery store, a brewery, two watch makers, two carriage and wagon makers, a meat market, a photographer, two harness makers, a tailor, a veterinary surgeon, two boot and shoe makers, a milliner, a bakery,  a newspaper, a bank, a plow factory, six saloons, several blacksmith shops, and three hotels.

The Central Hotel in 1897 at 4th and Broadway

As it is today, the corner of 4th and Broadway was at the heart of Downtown Carver back in the late 1800s.  In 1862, Sebastion Ohnesorg operated the Lager Bier Saloon…selling two glasses of “bier” for five cents.  In 1897, the corner became home to the Central Hotel, owned and operated by Richard Neunsigner.  For nearly 100 years the corner of 4th and Broadway served as a stable, saloon, and hotel.  

When the Central Hotel closed in the early 1940s the building went into a state of disrepair.  Although much of Carver’s heritage has been preserved, the history of the Lager Bier Saloon and Central Hotel gave way to demolition.  In 1956, the former saloon and hotel was torn down and replaced with the building that we all know today as Village Hall.

Although the boom of the late 1800s has since faded, Carver, unlike most cities, has preserved much of its heritage.  In 1980, Downtown Carver became one of the first historic districts in Minnesota to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Carver Historic District includes eighty-seven buildings and four structures of historical significance from 1850-1925, with respect to early river town settlement, commerce, dwelling places, and architecture.  In 2005, Carver attained Certified Local Government status by the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office.

How did we get here?

Village Hall was closed in February of 2016 when a structural engineer determined that there were unsafe conditions related to the building’s foundation and roof system.  The combination of structural deficiencies and existing space needs led the City Council to step back and seek out different options for moving forward.  As a result, two resident task force groups were created to review community needs and develop options to consider.

The task force groups, over the course of seven months, created five options for residents to consider for the future needs of Carver.  The options ranged from a simple repair of Village Hall for $675,000, all the way to a new facility at the former Waste Water Treatment Plant (located near Main St. W. and Jonathan Carver Parkway)  for nearly $8,000,000.  The feedback shared through the “Get Informed & Share Your Voice” resident engagement initiative ultimately led the City Council back to where the former Lager Bier Saloon and Central Hotel once stood.

On Broadway: Carver City Hall

Early sketch of City Hall offices

Moving forward with the project would lead to the demolition of Village Hall  (constructed in 1957) and the City Hall office addition, which was added to Village Hall in 1990. The preliminary design for a new City Hall  on 4th and Broadway shows a two-story building to be constructed at-grade  with no basement.  The City Hall (including community room spaces)  would be approximately 8,520 sq. ft., which is nearly half of the initial options presented at 16,324 sq. ft.  The decrease in size drops the price by nearly one-half of the most expensive option from $7,759,000 to $3,997,661.  Likewise, the downtown site drops the anticipated tax impact on a $300,000 home from $388 to $201 for the 4th and Broadway site.   

The initial design features a community room that could seat up to 105 and accommodate 52 with tables and chairs.  The space could be used for events, meetings, and other community celebrations.  Early drawings show an adjacent City Council Chambers to the community room; however, details on room design and building layout will be discussed at length during the upcoming design phase of the project. In addition to the community room space, the City offices would be able to expand from its current 1,600 sq. ft. to approximately 4,260 sq. ft.  Residents can expect to see additional details and floor plan modifications as the design phase of the project evolves over the next several months.   

What’s Next?

Over the next few months, City staff will be working to develop a series of “action items” for the City Council to consider.  Plans for the relocation of City Hall offices, project budgets, financing strategies, and building design details all need to be debated and discussed by the City Council. For more information on the Broadway City Hall Project please visit www.cityofcarver.com or contact Brent Mareck, City Manager, at 952-448-5353 or by e-mail at bmareck@cityofcarver.com.