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RCP’s community partner for the 2015–2016 academic year is Carver County, located 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis. Participants in the year-long collaboration will include four departments at Carver County (Administrative Services, Planning and Water Management, Public Health, and Social Services), the Carver County Community Development Agency, SouthWest Transit, Eastern Carver County School District (ISD 112), the Carver County Historical Society, and the Cities of Victoria, Chaska, and Watertown.

Carver County is the least populated of the seven Twin CIties metro area counties, but it is also one of the state’s (and the nation’s) fastest-growing. Although the population is predominantly white, an increasing number of people of color are moving to the county, and a growing percentage of students speak a language other than English at home. With its population expected to nearly double to more than 155,000 by 2040, Carver County faces both challenges and opportunities in the coming decades as it strives to become a more sustainable, resilient, and livable community.[1][2]

Carver County was organized by the Minnesota Territorial Legislature In March of 1855, and was named for the Massachusetts explorer and writer Jonathan Carver, who traveled to the area in the 1760s and wintered among the Dakota Sioux at a site near present-day New Ulm. The 1851 Treaty of Traverse de Sioux opened the area to white settlers, most of whom were from the east coast of the United States or were immigrants from Germany, Sweden, and Ireland.[3]

Farming was the primary means of livelihood in Carver County for its first 100 years. Although farming is no longer the chief occupation, Carver County retains its rural character, and much of the land in the western portion of the county is still in agricultural production. In more recent decades, The county has seen an explosion of residential development in the Cities of Chaska (the county seat), Chanhassen, Waconia, Carver, and Victoria during the last few decades, and many residents of these communities commute to jobs in Minneapolis or its suburbs.[3] Carver County also has a strong manufacturing and bioscience industry base, with major employers including Entegris, Rosemount, Supervalu, Lake Region Medical Manufacturing, Beckman Coulter, and General Mills.[1]

Carver County is distinguished by its breathtaking natural surroundings; an abundance of parks, trails, and outdoor recreation activities; and a number of popular attractions, including the Chanhassen Dinner Theater and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The county is also home to Crown College, the University of St. Thomas Chaska Campus, and Dunwoody College of Technology Southwest Campus.

Notes:

[1] “Carver County,” Greater MSP website, https://www.greatermsp.org/16-county/carver/, accessed July 6, 2015.
[2] “Carver County, Minnesota,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carver_County,_Minnesota, accessed July 6, 2015.
[3] “A Brief History of Carver County,” Carver County Historical Society Website, http://www.carvercountyhistoricalsociety.org/history_topics.php, accessed July 7, 2015.

Press Coverage of RCP-Carver County Partnership