New study discusses growth in Southeast Minnesota

The Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities pushed for the study, and tell KIMT the information will be helpful in planning for future growth.

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 10:58 PM

KIMT NEWS 3 - Growth in cities can bring both opportunities and challenges that can be hard to plan for. The Southeast Minnesota region is trying to be efficient about that process.

On Tuesday, the Southeast Minnesota Economic Impact Forecasting Study was released.

The Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities pushed for the study, to see what the expected growth will mean for surrounding communities.

Brenda Johnson is the executive director of SEMLM and spearheaded the study. She tells KIMT the study will be a crucial planning tool for both cities and counties across the region.

"What we do now, is going to affect our communities and our counties for many years to come," Johnson said.

For nearly a decade, John Goldsmith has owned the JW's Silver Grille in Chatfield. In that time, not much has stayed the same.

"I've seen a lot of changes," Goldsmith said. "Especially you go to Rochester, even around town here there's the housing developments that weren't here say 10 years ago."

According to the study, the population of Southeastern Minnesota is projected to grow by more than 50,000 over the next 25 years.

The region is spread over eight different counties, meaning many different cities could be seeing shifts in the number of people.

"I think the majority of it's going to go to say Olmsted County, Rochester," Goldsmith said. "And you'll see people who will move out of Rochester into the smaller community because that's what they're looking for."

Another key finding from the study is that regional employment is forecasted to grow by 44,000 new jobs by year 2040.

Johnson said information from the study will be crucial for communities across the region.

"Southeast Minnesota is a happening place," Johnson said. "There's things that are going on that are wonderful and we can make even more of it, we can make it even better for ourselves by having proper planning."

With growth can come challenges. A couple that are noted within the study are accessibility to childcare, housing, and healthcare premium costs.

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