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: