In the northeast suburbs of Minnesotas Twin Cities, its not unusual to hear people talk about enjoying the best of both worlds. Thats because they do.
The communities of Northeast Metro offer residents and businesses the quiet charm of small-town living, with friendly neighborhoods dotted with lakes, woodlands, and parks...all just minutes from the bustling cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
These suburbs are located primarily in Ramsey County, directly north of St. Paul. Most are no more than 15 minutes from the busy downtowns of St. Paul and its metropolitan "twin" to the west, Minneapolis; for some, its a mere 5-minute drive. This proximity allows residents to enjoy all the comforts of small communities, while sacrificing none of the sophisticated amenities of urban life.
Ramsey County is blessed with an abundance of lakes, wetlands, woodlands, and open spaces. This lovely backdrop adds to the areas rural flavor and greatly enhances the quality of life for residents.
This isnt the backwoods, though - development and growth are alive and well in the Northeast Metro. The region boasts a diverse industrial base that continues to grow. Many national companies have their corporate headquarters here, including Land OLakes and SYSCO Minnesota. Business giant 3M employs 12,000 people at its facility in Maplewood.
Business development is promoted by the Suburban Chamber of Commerce, which represents businesses, non-profit groups, and local governments. The Chambers 12 member communities are Arden Hills, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, Little Canada, Maplewood, Mounds View, North Oaks, North St. Paul, Oakdale, Roseville, Shoreview, and Vadnais Heights.
The Chamber takes a strong, pro-active approach, working closely with businesses and government to attract new development and enhance the growth of existing business. Its also taken an aggressive stance on several legislative issues, lobbying successfully for a reduction in the states commercial/industrial tax rate.
Some 24 truck lines have their headquarters in the Twin Cities. Businesses also can make use of shipping facilities on the Mississippi River just a few miles away, or on the port of Duluth, 150 miles to the northeast on Lake Superior.
The regions many colleges, universities, and technical schools provide a talented pool of skilled and semi-skilled labor for business and industry. This highly desirable labor force even captured the attention of the National Governors Association, which has lauded the state of Minnesota for having one of the best links in the nation between education and job training.
Getting around the metro area is easy, with three interstate highways bordering the Northeast Metro area. Public transit includes a metropolitan bus system that serves all the northeast suburbs, as well as a mini-bus system with weekday service in limited areas. Amtrak offers passenger rail service, with a depot in St. Paul.
Each community has its own distinct flavor, but the residents all have one thing in common: a love for the natural beauty of their surroundings. County and municipal governments have set aside hundreds of acres for park lands and public use. These well-maintained sites have been focal points for local gatherings for generations, and are an attraction for tourists as well.
Newer facilities include several community centers. One in Shoreview boasts the Twin Cities only indoor water park, and another in Maplewood has two swimming pools and a 120-foot water slide.
Other major attractions in the Northeast Metro include the Minnesota State Fair, held annually in Falcon Heights, and a variety of family-oriented fairs and festivals.
Its no surprise that these cities consistently rank very high on surveys of resident satisfaction - in a state that has itself been called the most livable in the nation. The "livability factor" is high here. Residents enjoy housing in a wide range of prices and styles...peaceful, friendly communities...beautiful natural settings...and local economies that are not just thriving, but booming.
While leaders in these communities have a healthy approach toward growth, theyve also taken steps to protect the precious natural resources that make them unique. Several cities have policies in place to protect the lakes, wetlands, and other sensitive sites within their borders; one has an aggressive program for acquiring open spaces for public use.
Whether youre looking for a pleasant community in which to live, work, play, or start a business, these communities have something for everyone. In the Northeast Metro, you really can enjoy the best of both worlds.
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