It was Kimberly Day's South Dakota upbringing that drew her to Maple Grove ten years ago and made her comfortable enough to start a family here.
"We like the small town," says Day. "We like that feel and Maple Grove was a very friendly community. Love the growth and the fun retail and the restaurants and my husband opened a business here as well.
Randy Modene doesn't blame her. He's watched the city grow since moving here in 1976.
"In '76 there were probably only three restaurants," he says. "At that time a gravel pit was strictly a gravel pit."
But, he says, over time shops, restaurants and other amenities made their way out to Maple Grove. He praised the Osseo school district his two children went through.
"It’s a great city to live in filled with parks and trails, new home developments, a variety of homes in a multitude of price range," he says. "It’s a good community for people to move to."
Those are just some of the reasons Money Magazine ranked Maple Grove number 22 on its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in America. The magazine looked at small cities that had populations between 50,000 and 300,000. Magazine staff used statistics from data services company Onboard Informatics to rank each city. According to Money Magazine's website, staffers also visited the cities and interviewed residents and city officials to find out more about each city.
"It involves diversity of housing, it involves education, it involves city governance, it involves growth, it involves cultural, leisure, business," says Maple Grove City Administrator Al Madsen. "I mean it’s a whole range of topics and so you have to provide all that to them."
Madsen says he bragged about the city's lakes, parks and trails, as well as its education system, quality and diversity of housing and community involvement.
The list is in Money Magazine's September issue. On CNNMoney.com, the blurb on Maple Grove applauds the city for its wide range of retail and dining options, its hospital and its active community organizations. It even goes so far as to call Maple Grove "the cultural and retail heart of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area."
Even fans of the city were skeptical of that part.
"That is a little bit of a stretch," Modene says with a laugh.
"That’s a pretty broad statement," says Day. "I think of Edina or something before Maple Grove. But I think it’s getting there the more and more retail we bring and, um, the more restaurants like the non-chain restaurants and things like that."
While most of the online blurb about Maple Grove is a matter of opinion, there is one part of the article that just isn't true. The person who wrote the article says downtown Minneapolis is 20 minutes away by commuter train. Maple Grove doesn't have a train.
Al Madsen says the writer was likely referring to the Bottineau Corridor commuter train that Hennepin County decided will not run through Maple Grove.
Besides that slip, residents say they're proud of the honor.
"It’s a fun place," says Modene. "You don’t have to leave Maple Grove if you don’t want to with everything that’s here."
August 22, 2012