Statewide: April 11, 2012 Archive
That's the chicken and the egg economic development question cities like Duluth are increasingly asking. As I reported on All Things Considered, Duluth Mayor Don Ness has set a goal for Duluth to grow to 90,000 people by 2020.
To get there, Ness acknowledges the city has to come up with specific arguments for all age demographics "about why Duluth is a great place to live." For instance, Ness wants to position Duluth as a "premier place for active retirees" to relocate.
But the sweetspot, both in terms of population growth and long-term economic development, is luring and retaining educated young professionals.
There are a couple reasons why it's so important for cities like Duluth to target that 21-35 year-old demographic, according to Brookings Institution economist Joe Cortright.
First, "the peak demographic for moving in the U.S. is basically a 24 year old with a bachelors degree or more education," explains Cortright. That's when people are up for grabs. By your 35th birthday, your likelihood of moving across state lines drops by about half, and then continues to plummet. People get married, have kids, buy homes, get settled in careers, and it's much harder to convince them to uproot,
Second, young professionals are needed to replace the baby boom generation as it retires. Cortright says we're moving into a period of much slower labor force growth. As a result, "places that have a lot of talented workers, or to which it's relatively easy to attract others, are more attractive to growing businesses."
UMD senior Brian Spiese gets help with his LinkedIn profile from two student workers. Spiese is graduating in the fall with a degree in organizational management and wants to stay in Duluth, IF he can find a good job.
So how do you attract those workers that will in turn attact those growing businesses? With jobs, right? Mayor Ness points to companies like Maurice's that are growing, creating jobs, and investing in their facilities.
But Ness also relentlessly touts Duluth's quality of life. The growing network of hiking and mountain bike trails. The thriving arts and music scene downtown. The beauty of Lake Superior.
Ness says there are entrepreneurs in town who've started successful businesses (like GeaCom and Loll Designs) "who've chosen to live in Duluth and start their business in Duluth because of the trail system, because of the natural beauty of the city."
Economist Joe Cortright says there's truth to that. "We know that talented folks have lots of choices about where to live," he says. So cities need to sell their strengths, what differentiates them from other communities.
It seems to be working in Duluth. The 2010 census showed the city gained 4,000 people between the ages of 20 and 34.
Don Ness isn't satisfied yet. He wants Duluth to compete, not with Rochester and Bemidji and Morehead, but with thriving mid-size cities like Boulder, Colo., and Asheville, NC.
"Those are communities that have that strong sense of place, a strong university community, and young, creative entrepreneurs want to live in those communities because of the quality of life elements that they bring."
"Duluth has all of those variables in spades," Ness argues. "Now we just need to culminate that into one common vision, and start to be a growing community."
Posted at 7:30 AM on April 11, 2012
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
Lawsuits likely before and after Voter ID balloting
MPR News: "Only days after the Legislature approved a proposed constitutional amendment that will ask voters this November to require that Minnesotans show photo identification at the polls, groups that oppose the measure vowed to fight it in court."
First man arrested with drone evidence vows to fight case
US News and World Report: "The tiny town of Lakota, N.D., is quickly becoming a key testing ground for the legality of the use of unmanned drones by law enforcement after one of its residents became the first American citizen to be arrested with the help of a Predator surveillance drone."
UnitedHealth vet Mikan asked to steady Best Buy
Star Tribune: "Though he brings financial bona fides as the company's interim CEO, analysts don't see him in the job permanently."
Field drainage affects Red River Valley flooding, new study shows
Forum of Fargo Moorhead: "Tile drainage of farm fields has been cast as a villain that aggravates flooding in the Red River Valley and held out as a great hope for better managing runoff to minimize flooding."
Lake Superior, invasive species
Salties bring no new invaders, thanks to 'swish and spit'
Duluth News Tribune: "The first saltwater ship of the 2012 season left the Twin Ports on Tuesday afternoon with a load of wheat bound for Belgium, and there's some good news on what the Arubaborg probably did not leave behind. Invasive species."
City Hall confrontation between Occupy protesters and Mayor Rybak has a '70s vibe
MinnPost: "Tuesday afternoon's session was not a meeting about putting up tents in Minneapolis.This, rather, was an old-fashioned protest gathering with an opportunity to shout at the mayor and the police chief about allegations of police brutality."
Metrodome: Home sweet storm home
Historically Inclined: "Never mentioned among the pantheon of great ballparks, Minnesota's former home to Major League Baseball is also celebrating a milestone anniversary in 2012, albeit with no fanfare. Utilitarian at best when it opened 30 years ago this month, the Metrodome made early-season baseball sufferable in the North Star State, where April showers are always cold and often white, but its weatherproof, space-aged charm was soon eroded by carpet burns, trampoline bounces and vanishing pop-ups."
MPR News Primer: Copper-nickel mining
MPR News: "Mining runs deep in the culture and economy of northern Minnesota. So why are people drawing battle lines over plans to build copper-nickel mines in the Iron Range? It's a new kind of mining for Minnesota and there are plenty of potential rewards -- and risks."