Editor's note: This is the fourth part of a series on small communities around Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo going through significant expansions as the metro grows.
GLYNDON — Lifelong Glyndon resident Kelly Richards knew "something had to change" when he realized a new home hadn't been built in the community for 12 years.
So, the real estate agent and bus company owner bought 40 acres on the southwest side of town and three years ago started a housing development called Southview.
The 83-lot addition, which features a U-shaped pond in the middle with lighted fountains and a surrounding walking trail, really took off in the past year as only 35 lots remain, he said.
Currently, 12 homes are under construction with another three planned to start yet this fall.
The selling points, he said, are the lots that average 90 feet by 140 feet, special assessments under $32,000 and the quick drive from the bedroom community to Fargo-Moorhead.
"You can be to West Acres (shopping mall) in 15 minutes," he said during a tour of the area. To do that, residents drive southwest on paved county roads for three miles and are then on Interstate 94.
On top of those selling points, the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton middle and high school that is undergoing a major transformation is only three blocks away.
That's where Mayor Tracy Tollefson works as community education and public relations director.
She has nothing but praise for Richards and his undertaking.
"The need for more housing was very evident," Tollefson said.
Although the town's population dropped in the latest census from 1,394 in 2010 to 1,308 in 2020, she has no doubt that the number of residents has already grown with the 48 new homes in Southview.
Once the development fills up, as Tollefson and Richards believe it will, they estimate there will be an additional 250 residents in the community. Tollefson said Glyndon is made up mostly of families and retirees, many of whom have lived in the town their entire lives.
The mayor believes Southview will also boost the school district's enrollment, which has stayed pretty steady in recent years with the latest count at 738 elementary students and about another 860 students in the middle school and high school.
Principal Margaux Hylla, who leads the Glyndon elementary school of 314 students, will be moving to Dilworth next fall when renovations there are complete.
When construction is done, students from preschool to fourth grade will go to the Dilworth school, and fifth grade through senior high students will be at the expanded two-block Glyndon school.
Hylla explained that the renovated Glyndon facility, with its "grand entrance" switched from the east side to the west side, will feature a new performing arts suite, science labs, library, competition gym, locker rooms, community room, lunch room or commons, security upgrades and remodeled classrooms.
The principal is excited about increased natural light that will stream in through all of the new windows.
While the school expands, Tollefson said the town is making progress in other ways, too.
The new Parke Avenue that runs by the school with its wider sidewalks stretching for blocks has been a major improvement, she said, as well as a new railroad crossing upgrade that is providing a quiet zone in the middle of town.
On the business side, she said, a 20-lot industrial and business park called Stockwood along U.S. Highway 10 on the east side of town is down to only four available lots.
The park has attracted a Dollar General store as well as several new small business operations centers.
Tollefson said she is also proud of the city's public works team that operates the water treatment plant and sewage operations in a professional manner, as well as Police Chief Justin Vogel and his three other full-time officers.
She said officers mingle often with the town's young people during school activities, special gatherings in the summer and at the ice skating rink and warming house in the winter.
"The officers are probably the friendliest people you would ever meet," she said.
Richards describes the town as a "nice, quiet" bedroom community option for residents who prefer a small town over the larger metro cities.
Tollefson added that it's a close-knit community, too.
"You know, here you can feel safe having your kids ride uptown to get ice cream. And it's a place where you know almost everyone," she said. "We are just so blessed."