It's been a long time, it seems, since we've had a gratuitous survey that reminds us how great we are.
I'm talking about you, Woodbury. Everyone else, step back!
BusinessWeek says Woodbury is the 24th-best place to raise your kids in the U.S., and -- clearly -- the best in Minnesota, with Rochester and Eagan off in the distance.
Here's the bottom line:
Woodbury, a growing suburb just 10 miles southeast of St. Paul, is close to major employers, including the state government and 3M, which makes everything from post-it notes to safety equipment. It has 100 miles of multi-use trails and is surrounded by thousands of acres of park land. The city is served by three independent public school districts and is home to the Math & Science Academy charter school.
So, Woodbury's strong point is it's near another city where there's a major employer. Woodbury once had a major employer. But State Farm Insurance succumbed to the allure of Lincoln, Nebraska, and its huge campus has been vacant ever since, right across the street from the shopping center that looks like every other shopping center in America, and up the street from Woodbury Lakes, the now-in-foreclosure upscale shopping district.
It's interesting, however, that the article sees three school districts in the city as a plus, since most people consider it a headache. The districts were drawn when the city was nothing but pasture. As it was developed, one school district -- actually based in Oakdale -- got the benefit of the retail growth in Woodbury, while the primary school district got nothing. The three districts all split up neighborhoods in the city.
There's no questioning, however, that the magazine got it right on parks and trails. Both would've made better backdrop for the supporting photograph in the magazine than the one it used:
I like how they are advertising Woodbury with a hispanic family (who, statistically speaking, probably live in St. Paul) and the Minneapolis Skyline (which you can't even see from Woodbury).
Plus, when it comes to "Raising your kids" factors, is there really that much of a difference between one suburb and another? I definitely see the appeal of the 'burbs in general, but does a Rosemount-born child really have a much different experience than a kid who hails from the mean streets of Woodbury?
Congrats to the PR department at Woodbury City Hall, they replied to a survey and got on the list. I'd be willing to bet that's how it went, and the other burbs didn't fill out this particular survey.
Did anyone else notice that the cities were listed in alphabetical order by state?