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Old 06-17-2006, 03:22 PM
 
43 posts, read 196,129 times
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We plan to move within two years. I'm just starting researching various areas, and MN is looking very attractive. Right now I am comparing St. Cloud and St. Paul. (Yes, I know…apples and oranges.)

I've seen the Chamber packet on St Cloud, and it appears to have some characteristics we're looking for, but I'm also well aware that I'm looking at the bright, shiny, best of the best PR stuff, which seldom reflects reality. I’d appreciate the rundown of the area from someone who lives there or is familiar with it.

In particular, how stable is the economy? What challenges are facing the area? Is local government setting groundwork for the growth taking place? How does the area feel about newcomers? What is the political, social climate? As one of us does not drive, how is the public transportation system?

Also, what is the climate for independent and small businesses? I currently own a specialty retail store/café. Ideally, I’d like to reopen it where we move if the market would sustain it.

Thanks for any input you can offer.
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Old 06-18-2006, 11:51 AM
 
167 posts, read 881,240 times
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I'm sorry I can't answer many of your specific questions, but I can tell you a few things about St. Cloud. St. Cloud State University is there, which is known as a major party school. There have been issues with racial tension in the past-- I don't recall what the particulars were, but St. Cloud has earned the nickname "White Cloud" by some. One thing that's always struck me about St. Cloud is that there doesn't seem to be enough road space for the people who are driving-- traffic is always, always terrible. I haven't spent much time there in recent years, but as far as I know, public transportation is limited. (I could be mistaken about this--you should check into it.) There's plenty of shopping in St. Cloud, but (IMO) not much else.
I've never been a fan of St. Cloud myself--this is much a matter of personal preference, but I would recommend St. Paul over St. Cloud for sure.

Last edited by angelaf; 06-18-2006 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 06-24-2006, 04:55 PM
 
43 posts, read 196,129 times
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Thanks for the reply. We'll probably end up trying to spend a couple weeks in each to compare them.

Sorry to hear that there's race problems. One would think we'd have figured out to get over that by the 21st century. :/
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Old 07-08-2006, 09:36 AM
 
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Default About St Cloud

St. Cloud is pretty nice overall. The race tensions really were about latino gangs in the area. What happened is the schools went from minor troubles...to having to have full time security and metal detectors because of these new Latino gangs coming into the area. It got so bad in Wilmar Minnesota that the kids actually boycotted the school...they didn't feel safe there. It was like before we worried about kids bringing a ****o mag into the school, now we had to worry about guns and knives. The region just wasn't ready for it and unfortunatley it coincided with the large scale immigration of migrant workers into the area. There was a resentment that things that used to be safe no longer were anymore and that was due to the influx of migrant workers. I mean we are talking about an area where people didn't lock their car doors or houses. Most of the race stuff is smoothing out, but it was a rough transition.

Okay, that aside SCSU has a reputation as a party school...that not really true anymore. The area has heavy Germanic roots so there is quite a bit of underage drinking. What happened is a Frat got busted with about 100 underage kids and so it got this reputation for being a party school. SCSU is one of the best colleges in the state of Minnesota with a beautiful campus. There's also a Tech or Community college in St. Cloud. The city is located along the Mississippi (where the water is still clean) and has a bus/transit system that gets the job done, but not much more. Housing is affordable and there are beautiful Lakes in every direction. It's just an hours drive to the Twin Cities. (I used to think that was a long time, but living in DC and spending an hour on the beltway just to drive 6 miles I realize I was sorely mistaken)

The St Cloud area is one of the fastest growing areas in Minnesota. The School system is pretty good with multiple choices for education. Crime remains pretty low for the area. It has a lot of outdoorsey activities if you are into that.
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Old 07-08-2006, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Maine
19,164 posts, read 22,852,228 times
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We had initially looked into St. Cloud as well, but the more we looked into it, the more we didn't like it. We actually visited there this summer and confirmed our negative opinion. In general, things we did not like about it:

1.) Way too crowded, bad traffic, and urban sprawl. The town was strip mall after strip mall after shopping center.

2.) Crime was surprisingly high for such a mid-sized city. Check out official stats (even on City Data) to confirm this. Gangs have become a problem in the schools, and you have to be VERY careful about the neighborhood in which you live.
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Old 07-15-2006, 03:48 PM
 
43 posts, read 196,129 times
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I think it's the rapid growth that makes me wary. Many cities can't deal with out-of-control growth. They get blindsided by it and haven't planned for adequate infrastructure.

What I can't get a handle on is what is fueling the growth. Can you give some feedback there? Where are all the newbies coming from? Is it all white-flight from the Twin cities (as has been hinted to me from elsewhere)? Are they commuting back into the cities for work and St Cloud is becoming a bedroom community? Or is it fueled by local economic growth?

I like that there is a university in town as I'm considering going back to school in a few years. Thanks for explaiing the "party school" rep. Sounds like typical college stuff. Goodness, they can't be much worse than UNC, Chico State or EKU

Oh, one other question: is it all chains and franchises, or would thre be support for independent small businesses?
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Old 07-15-2006, 03:54 PM
 
43 posts, read 196,129 times
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Well, the strip mall stuff could be a turn off, certainly.

Mark, may I ask where you live now so I have an idea what you're comparing the area to? I ask because I spent ten years in San Jose, so if you're somewhere like...oh, I don't know....Boise, then what might seem like crowding or horrid traffic to you might be an something we'd not blink at. it would give me a benchmark.
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Old 07-16-2006, 09:23 PM
 
33 posts, read 388,443 times
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Question St. Cloud??

I would like to know the area around St. Cloud?? Where is the most crime and the least crime?? What part of St. Cloud should we stay? What hotel would you recommend staying at??
Thanks.
Chris
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Old 07-16-2006, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Maine
19,164 posts, read 22,852,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ymbk
Mark, may I ask where you live now so I have an idea what you're comparing the area to?
Right now we're in Federal Way, WA, one of the Seattle/Tacoma suburbs. Some of the worst traffic in the nation. In comparison, St. Cloud wasn't that bad really. But for a city of its size, it seemed really bad. Honestly though, I could deal with that. It was the high crime that made us finally decide to look elsewhere. We still have kids in school, and I don't want them having to deal with gangs and such.

I grew up in a very small town in the Southwest. Growing up, my hometown had two stop lights. I think they have since upgraded to four.
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Old 07-17-2006, 07:37 AM
 
43 posts, read 196,129 times
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Thanks. That puts it in perspective for me. Yep, you're no stranger to bad traffic.

Good luck finding a place without gangs. Even the little town we not live in is seeing gang activity and drugs are all over.
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