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Unread 10-13-2007, 09:56 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,173 times
Reputation: 12
Default Looking for best town in southern MN

My husband and I are originally from northern MN and moved out to Phoenix, AZ when Jesse Ventura screwed up the education funding. After 5 years, we're now sick of the desert and ready to be back in MN, but don't want the constant freezing temps of the north. We're looking for the perfect town in the southern part of MN (so we can still drive up north to visit family). We don't want to live in the twin cities...we're done with the urban life. We want a nice town with lots of trees and access to lakes/rivers for fishing and boating. I'm a school principal, so we have to find an area that I can get a job in (though I can commute) and want my son to go to a good school district.

 
Unread 10-13-2007, 11:35 PM
 
3 posts, read 6,659 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessjoanaz View Post
My husband and I are originally from northern MN and moved out to Phoenix, AZ when Jesse Ventura screwed up the education funding. After 5 years, we're now sick of the desert and ready to be back in MN, but don't want the constant freezing temps of the north. We're looking for the perfect town in the southern part of MN (so we can still drive up north to visit family). We don't want to live in the twin cities...we're done with the urban life. We want a nice town with lots of trees and access to lakes/rivers for fishing and boating. I'm a school principal, so we have to find an area that I can get a job in (though I can commute) and want my son to go to a good school district.
A couple-few weeks less of winter is not much to note when you still have 5 months of it remaining. And don't forget the wind, it seems like it never stops in southern MN.

After moving from Washington DC as a child, I finished growing up in Winnebago and Blue Earth, both in deep south central Minn. Might as well have been Iowa. Nice, safe place to grow up... and leave. No opportunity for kids once they are done being "raised", expect half of every graduating class to leave and never come back! I fled to the Twin Cities, and have lived in and around Mpls ever since.

Fairmont is a little better, with the chain of lakes, but that's about it. From South Dakota to Austin, it really is flyover territory, a good place to drop out, fly-by under the radar, retire, never leave from, or never go back to...

The exceptions, IMHO, are towns like Rochester and Mankato. They are fairly progressive, populous enough without being urban, a place you could actually center a family around for decades, with enough variety and progressiveness to mature with your family. I'm partial to the beautiful Minnesota River Valley area along Hwy 169 between Mankato and Jordan, and the lakes area between Mankato and Faribault along the Hwy 60 corridor. I know Mankato personally very well.

I know Marshall personally, too. Marshall may also be progressive, but they are alone out in the prairie, a small college town with only a couple key employers serving as the hub for a vast prairie area - might as well live in Sioux Falls, SD, for a better lifestyle, God's honest truth - and lower taxes!

Sioux Falls is actually quite mild in weather compared to most of MN, they warm up considerably faster in the spring. And they have adopted a rather global view of their place in the world in the past decade or so and have become quite progressive. God knows MN residents are sick of hearing about their lower taxes, better family lifestyle, lower cost of living, warmer weather, etc. That should tell you something.

I also wouldn't discount the Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls area in WI - much to the disgust of MN cheesehead-haters, I'm sure. Beautiful!
 
Unread 10-14-2007, 01:20 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MN
571 posts, read 1,640,241 times
Reputation: 272
Good post above...I was also going to recommend Mankato and Rochester as well as Eau Claire (even though I'm a "cheesehead hater", ha ha.) Just be aware that proprety taxes in WI are notoriously high. But they do have good schools and much better roads than MN does. At least in WI you can see where your tax money is going.

Another thought is the Winona MN/La Crosse WI area. Nice college towns in the beautiful Mississippi bluffs country.

A final thought is Northfield. May not be as close to lakes/rivers as you were hoping (though of course in MN you're never THAT far from a lake!), but another very nice college town with an excellent K-12 school district. Far enough away from the Twin Cities to live a more "pastoral" life, but it's only a 45 minute drive when you want a change of pace.

Last edited by MidniteBreeze; 10-14-2007 at 01:28 AM..
 
Unread 10-14-2007, 05:25 AM
 
20,028 posts, read 26,739,403 times
Reputation: 9256
Having lived in both Sioux Falls and Marshall they both have their pluses and minuses. The schools in Sioux Falls are not good unless you attend the Catholic schools. The cost of living in Sioux Falls is no less then it would be in most areas of MN. While there is no state income tax the property taxes are 2 to 3 times what they are here and the housing costs are similar to the twin cities metro area.

Marshall is a great town except that it is the one area of the state that doesn't have a lot of lakes. There are a couple in the area though. Marshall is a fairly easy town to find employment. The key employers are very large, unusual for a small town. Finding a job as a school principal might be more difficult but there are several smaller districts around Marshall that might be options. I do know that the elementary school principal is retiring in the next year or two. The middle school and high school principals are both new and look to be long term prospects for those jobs.

From what you say you really want, lakes/trees, and smaller town, I would look in the Willmar area. The schools are good, abundant lakes, nice part of the state.
 
Unread 02-09-2008, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Willmae, Minnesota
2 posts, read 6,905 times
Reputation: 10
I live in Willmar they have good jobs, good education and good weather.
 
Unread 02-09-2008, 08:30 PM
 
414 posts, read 1,156,998 times
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Give Clear Lake, Iowa a look. It's located right on a large lake and has a quaint, well-kept uptown area. It has immediate access to I-35 and is 20 miles to the MN-IA border. As a educator and a parent, you'll appreciate Iowa's outstanding public schools.
 
Unread 02-10-2008, 01:09 AM
 
Location: MN
1,672 posts, read 3,459,656 times
Reputation: 850
Winona is nice.


YouTube - Winona, Minnesota
 
Unread 02-10-2008, 07:34 AM
 
310 posts, read 733,965 times
Reputation: 97
Untitled Document

If you were worried about education before take a look at this site about Marshall schools. EW
 
Unread 02-10-2008, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
947 posts, read 2,420,654 times
Reputation: 296
I like Red Wing, and for good trout, Forestville. But that's a teeny bit too teeny.
 
Unread 02-11-2008, 08:16 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
5,287 posts, read 4,083,289 times
Reputation: 8042
We just moved to Albert Lea about a week and a half ago and it seems like a nice town but the last two days have been bitter cold.The wind chill was -40 two nights ago. I am looking forward to spring and summer and will be able to report more at a later date,but so far so good.
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