Community Information

22 High Performing Schools Recognized by Minnesota Department of Education

22 local schools have been recognized as "Celebration Schools," an honor bestowed upon schools serving poor students who demonstrate good achievement. 

The "Celebration" portion of the award is in part to Minnesota's new school accountability system. This monitors schools that receive federal poverty aid and gives them designations that correlate with how they fare academically. The "Celebration" designation is one of the highest commendations meant for the top 25% of schools receiving Title I money. 

“I want to congratulate these schools for this incredible accomplishment,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “Minnesotans should be proud of the work going on in our schools."

The full spread of schools is listed below -- congrats to all the "Celebration Schools" for their hard work to give more students opportunities to succeed in academics. 

Blooming Prairie Elementary / Blooming Prairie Public School District

Cedar Park Elementary / Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan

Dover-Eyota Elementary / Dover-Eyota Public School District

Fair School Downtown / West Metro Education Program

Hmong College Prep Academy High School / Hmong College Prep Academy

Huddleston Elementary / Lakeville Public School District

Kelliher Secondary School / Kelliher Public School District

Kennedy Elementary / Willmar Public School District

Kenny Elementary / Minneapolis...

Minnesota Ranks in the Top Ten for Business in the Country

According to Forbes magazine's 2014 top ten list for 'Best and Worst States for Business', Minnesota ranks in the top ten coming in at #9. Last year, the state also cracked the top ten clocking in at #8.

The magazine ranked the states based on a total of 36 factors, like quality of life, labor supply and economic climate (not the actual climate, which is harsh at the moment). The state also has the fourth highest percentage of adults with a high school diploma at 92.4%. Another huge factor in the ranking was the $312 billion gross revenue for the state in 2013. 

The metro has a healthy arena for business as many major corporations have called the state of Minnesota home. Those corportations include: Best Buy, General Mills, 3M, Target, US Bancorp, and Medtronic. With these hugh employers helping to flood the job market with not only jobs, but careers, it's no wonder why Minnesota has such a high ranking. 

Minnesota has long been regarded as a great place for business (hence all the big corporations calling the state home), and this latest ranking proves just that. 

Photo by: Matthew Deery 

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Mall of America Getting 'Super' for 2018

With the 2018 Super Bowl calling the Twin Cities home, it comes as little surprise that the state is looking to make itself as attractive as possible to a world audience. With the Vikings getting a new stadium and the addition of more light rail, the state is quickly looking to ready itself for the worldwide event.

Though unrelated to the Super Bowl taking place in Minneapolis, the Mall of America is also expanding, by a whole lot. If you thought the MOA was huge before, can you imagine it being twice as big? The next ten years will make that a reality. Yes, that’s right, the MOA will be double its current size in just over ten years.

The MOA is planning on expanding the mall in phases, with the first phase adding another hotel, another sizable atrium, more dining options and retail space, an office building and underground parking.

This already unbelievable mall will now be even more attractive to visitors of all varieties. Sure, MOA is adding more shopping and dining, but imagine having your office on site? Business meetings could take place at all sorts of different locations on site – plus, factor in the proximity to the airport and this new office complex is sure to be attractive to all types of businesses.

With the Super Bowl on its way, many visitors will be able to enjoy the Mall of America getting a super sized face-lift.  

Image courtesy of: DLR Group 

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Linden Hills & Fulton Neighborhoods of Minneapolis

The Linden Hills and Fulton neighborhoods are two of the best locations to live in all the Twin Cities. Aside from only being minutes away from both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, the area sits in close proximity to the international airport and the Mall of America – and because the neighborhood is on the west side of the metro, it’s only a short drive to the scenic Lake Minnetonka. And on that note, the area itself has plenty of outdoor space that feels anything but urban.

Image Credit: Joe Bielawa

Near the Linden Hills and Fulton neighborhoods sit plenty of bodies of water worth spending time around – Minnehaha Creek, Lake Calhoun, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles and Lake Harriet are all in close proximity. These options are a godsend for anyone who appreciates the outdoors, loves a good beach or water activities.

Image Credit: Jason Riedy

Minnehaha Creek is one can’t miss spot in the area, flowing 22 miles east through many Minneapolis suburbs. The creek flows into the gorgeous Minnehaha Falls, a huge attraction in the Minneapolis area. The 53-foot high waterfall is a beautiful escape for the urban life that surrounds the area.

There are also many fantastic parks in the area. Residents can chose from Utley Park, York Park, Arden Park, Wooddale Park, Pamela Park, and more. Minneapolis is an ever-growing city, but...

Minneapolis and the Twin Cities Rank No. 1 for Parks

The Trust for Public Land declared Minneapolis and the Twin Cities the nation’s best big city for public parks, followed by New York, Boston and Sacramento, Calif.

Minneapolis parks

Jayne Miller, superintendent for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, said the work the board has done over the years earned the award.

“The city was built around the park system, not the other way around,” she said. “We are unique from the standpoint that the park system was built as an economic driver for the city.”

Recent Minneapolis parks projects include the East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center and new synthetic turf fields; a new beach, boardwalk playground and picnic area at Theodore Wirth Park; and the Phillips Community Center renovation.

“This is an honor not for the Park Board but for the citizens of Minneapolis because they’re the ones 130 years ago who established an independent park board,” said John Erwin, president of the Park and Recreation Board. “Because they valued parks and understood they greatly enhance lives.”

Minneapolis, the 48th largest city, wasn’t ranked when the last list was created in 2012, but it was included this year when the index was expanded to the 50 most populous cities in America. Although St. Paul, the 66th largest city, was not rated by ParkScore, the Trust for Public Land analysts determined that if the two cities had been evaluated as a single municipality, it still would have ranked at the top of the list. Minneapolis parks and St. Paul parks also made appearances in a similar 2008 ranking of parks. 

Minneapolis parks ranked high in several categories, including...

November Events in the Twin Cities

 15th Annual Gobbler Games

This event is for parents and children (ages 4-14) set in pairs to participate in fun, low-key competitive athletic events. Events include, a floor hockey shoot, frisbee toss, basketball free throw, and more. Participants should arrive between 10:00 - 11:30 am. The event is free in Lino Lakes on November 3rd.

651-982-2445

 34th Annual Old-Fashioned Holiday Bazaar
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Circle Pines: A Perfect Suburb

The Minnesota community of Circle Pines has been named the third-most "Perfect Suburb" in the country by CNBC.

Analysts at Location Inc. based their rankings on affordable housing, good schools and employment, low crime, and reasonable commutes. They chose the 10 metropolitan areas with the lowest unemployment rates and then factored in the other variables. At the top was Edmond, Okla., followed by Kensington, Md., in second. No other Minnesota cities made the list.

With 5,407 residents, Circle Pines is one of the smallest cities on the list, but it boasted some high marks:

Suburb of: Minneapolis – St. Paul
Metro area unemployment rate: 6.5%
Median house value: $203,954
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 55%

Circle Pines is a small city with a population of 5,407 — and more people working in computers and math than 95% of the U.S. It has better public schools than 90% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 95% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Circle Pines’ populace holds a four-year degree (31.5%), but the vast majority are homeowners (92.6%).

More analysis of the suburb is found on the Circle Pines Neighborhood Scout profile.

"You always think your community is a special place. It's nice to have that verified by someone," Mayor Dave Bartholomay said.

To see the entire list, visit the 10 Perfect Suburbs slideshow.

Want to live in the perfect Minnesota suburb? Check out Circle Pines MN Real Estate.

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St. Louis Park Residents Love Living in Their City

People who live in St. Louis Park are really happy with their city compared to the ratings people in other Minnesota locations give their towns.

A citywide survey conducted this spring "took the temperature" of St. Louis Park residents. The poll was part of a city effort to track trends and check priorities. Mayor Jeff Jacobs and City Manager Tom Harmening were pleased with the results.

And they had plenty of reason to be. Survey firm Decision Resources told St. Louis Park officials that the ratings they found are among the highest they have seen in the many Twin Cities communities they have surveyed. A resounding 97% of residents rated the quality of life in St. Louis Park MN as excellent or good. About 95% of polled residents said they feel safe. About 89% rated city services as excellent or good. Only 4% of residents said they anticipated moving in the next five years.

When asked what serious issues face Saint Louis Park, 18% of residents cited Hennepin County's proposal to move a freight train line from Minneapolis to this city to make room for light rail. Just 8% cited high taxes and rising crime. And 12% said they did not see any serious issues facing the city. That "no issue" response is twice what is considered normal for a place like St. Louis Park, according to the survey company.

The city has lots of multifamily housing, and 28 percent of residents thought there were too many apartments and 21 percent said there were too many condos and townhouses. Harmening said proposals for more condo developments have withered as the economy has suffered. Jacobs agreed that the city needs to be careful not to overbuild multifamily housing, although he said the three light-rail stations that are proposed for his city may result in a push for higher-density housing in those locations.

"I think if you build...

The streets of the Twin Cities are lined with green gold

Those who live in or visit the Twin Cities probably have seen how many trees we have along our streets, avenues and boulevards. 

Recently, a first-of-its-kind study was completed that used high-resolution satellite technology to analyze the tree canopy of the Twin Cities. The study was carried out by a team of University of Minnesota researchers. High-resolution satellite technology was used to examine Minneapolis from above on a clear and cloudless day, recording and analyzing how much tree cover there, down to each individual property.

They study estimated Minneapolis' overall tree coverage to be 31.5%, higher than previous estimates using less precise methods. In St. Paul, the canopy cover rate was 32.5%.

Minneapolis' estimated 979,000 trees offer many benefits, including:

  • Cleaning the air
  • Sucking up water that would otherwise flood stormwater pipes
  • Increase the attractiveness of homes
  • Drive up property values
  • Reducing the need for cooling during hot summer days by providing shade

"In terms of energy conservation, it doesn't get any easier than planting a tree on the west side of your house if you can," [Minneapolis project coordinator June Mathiowetz] said.

The Lynnhurst neighborhood off the southeast shore of Lake Harriet had the most urban tree cover. Nearly 49% of its area is covered, which includes a portion of Minnehaha Creek. Other neighborhoods that rank high for shadiness have residential lots and extensive parkways, mostly along Minnehaha Creek in southern Minneapolis, West River Road, and along the city's western border.

The research will be helpful in multiple ways. The study shows gaps in the urban tree cover, which could help city planners and foresters target areas in need of improvement or develop low-cost programs to encourage more saplings on private land. It also provides a useful benchmark to monitor...

Twin Cities are the Healthiest, Fittest in the U.S.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are the healthiest, fittest cities in the country, according to a new examination of the 50 most populous United States metro areas.

The annual American Fitness Index, from the American College of Sports Medicine, is based on health factors, including obesity rates, percentage of people who exercise, and the availability of parks, walking trails and farmers' markets.

Some of the reasons the Twin Cities achieved its high rank is due to a lower-than-average obesity rate, an above-average percentage of residents who exercise, a relatively low smoking rate and moderate-to-low rates of chronic health problems likes asthma, heart disease and diabetes. Oh, and Minneapolis and St. Paul have some of the best and most extensive parks and recreational facilities in the country. Almost 16% of land in the city is park land vs. an average of 10% in other cities.

Here are the rest of the top 10 healthiest cities in the nation:

2. Washington, D.C.
3. Boston
4. Portland, Ore.
5. Denver
6. San Francisco
7. Hartford, Conn.
8. Seattle
9. Virginia Beach
10. Sacramento

Oklahoma City were ranked last and Louisville is second to last. The American College of Sports Medicine is working with these cities and others to help create strategies and policies that make it easier for residents to be healthy.

 

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