By Randa, Andrea, Pamela and Diana Paver
After the successful completion of Paver Park, Marty Paver (my grandfather) and his two sons Paul (my father) and Stanley (my uncle) looked around for a new venture.
They wanted to build a development that was close to downtown Sarasota that had ample room for a safe family friendly community with recreation and commercial facilities. They had the concept but they needed the land for such an undertaking. They found a willing seller and a suitable site in Schmidt’s Dairy Farm. A 440-acre tract of land within close proximity to downtown Sarasota off of Lockwood Ridge Road.
After concluding the purchase from Mr. Schmidt, Marty, Stanley and Paul hired engineers in Tennessee to finalize the site plan for Kensington Park. Ground was first broken. Marty, Stanley, Paul along with employee Merle Watson created each of the home floor plans themselves. The various initial floor plans were based on the homes in Paver Park.
Stanley and Marty were responsible for sales of the new homes while Paul managed the projects finances. Each of the three Pavers had an active role in the construction and sometimes my Dad came home so filthy that my Mom (Doris Monica Paver) would not let him in the house until he first hosed off outside!
While acting as salesmen to potential homebuyers, Stanley and Marty always listened to what customers were saying and asking for in new homes. From these conversations they along with Merle, tweaked their designs to give the customer what they wanted in a home. As my Dad (Paul) says,” You have to understand what the customer wants if you want to sell your product.”
The early years at Kensington Park were colorful. Aside from the many farms in the area, the winter headquarters for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus were located on what is now the Glen Oakes subdivision (another Paver Development).
My sisters Randa, Andrea and Mother still remember hearing lions roar and elephants trumpet in the early morning when the wind was just right. My sisters, for whom the streets are named, also remember when someone forgot to lock the gate at one of the farms and cows escaped into Kensington Park. The cows were walking down the streets until someone rounded them up. This also happened with one of the circus animals!
Although my family considered Kensington Park to be close to downtown, many potential homebuyers did not. (Remember that in those days most families only had one car and there was limited public transportation.) To combat this perception, Dad, his brother and father started a shuttle service for residents. A woman named Marie was hired to drive a VW van so residents could have service to town or residents could arrange for the bus to pick people up. A regular bus route and schedule was set up for the little VW van.
I have many happy memories of the recreation center in Kensington Park. It is now a church but in it’s day it was the hub of social activity in the community for parents as well as kids. Swimming, Scouting, Luaus, the Aqua Bells (a synchronized swim team), little theatre, dance lessons, cookouts, bridge -you name it – took place at the recreation center. It seemed like everyone spent time there!
Most homebuyers in Kensington Park were young families. There were also some retirees and several professional baseball lived in the development too. The two mistakes my father says he made on this project was not requiring that all home owners pay annual dues for membership to the recreation center and not requiring deed restrictions. This explains why the recreation center is now a church.
The park and its design were all about family. From the streets being named for family members such as “Schwalbe” (my Aunt Roxie’s maiden name) and “Monica” (my mothers middle name) to ample storage which every home and family needs. You may be interested to know who some of the other streets are named for. “Barstow” is my Aunt Roxie’s middle name. “Harley” was a tractor driver on the project whom the family was fond of. “Lench” was named for a good friend of the grandpa named Jack Lench. “Melgert” was named for one of the salesmen on the project named Mel and his wife Gertrude. “Parandor” is named for Paul’s daughters, Pam, Randa, Andrea and his wife Doris. Like I said, Kensington Park was designed with families in mind!
Several guiding principals have always been a part of every Paver product. Build better then the building codes require and create a place where you would like to live and raise a family.
My family is very proud of Kensington Park and hope that as residents, you will take pride in it too. Thanks for letting us share some of our memories about Kensington Park, your neighborhood!