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Twin Cities

Should Minneapolis and St. Paul Merge?

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The topic of Minneapolis and St. Paul merging was brought up in a different thread. What would be the pros and cons of a newly formed Minneapolis-St. Paul? For those of you that didn't know, the two cities are not totally separated by the Mississippi River or suburbs. Minneapolis does have neighborhoods east of the Mississippi.

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I don't know the specifics of the local situation there but here is how I would see it. (speaking in general terms if combined)

Pros

  • Lower costs if services were combined. The down side of this of course are these costs are achieved by eliminating duplicate people. Good for the taxpayer, bad for the government worker. Cities in general are very bad about not refunding savings such as this, but it may keep future tax increases from occuring.

  • Better cooperation on regional projects. Better in that cooperation does not have to occur if there is one government.

  • Cities with larger populations have a percieved advantage over small ones even though the city limits populaiton rarely describes the metropolitian area.

Cons

  • Larger government is less responsive to individuals and specific neighborhoods. A lot of this will depend upon how the new government is organized.

  • The competition for resources (new transit, sidewalks, etc.) could become more difficult.

  • If there is a big tax difference between the two cities, then some people are going to end up paying more taxes, possibly lower in the other. This again will depend upon the specifics of the local situation.

  • Each city will lose its distinctiveness over time. At some point the difference between St. Paul and Minneapolis will become meaningless, especially to generations not born yet. This may or may not be a good thing.

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I would love to see Minneapolis and St Paul combine in some fashion. The two cities have finally set aside the pride issue and are emphasizing the importance of working together in order to attract new businesses. Bordering neighborhoods such as Prospect Park in Minneapolis and Merriam Park in St. Paul have been cooperating with one another for quite some time; even more now since there's been a lot of development along the border of each.

If the two were to combine the population would be around 670,000.

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well here in NC, Winston and Salem were 2 different cities at one time and became Winston-Salem (even today it's refered to as NC's Twin City). But that was a lot longer ago when things were different, I don't know how it'd be if a city - as big as Minneapolis and St Paul - merged today.

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This has happened in many Canadian cities in the last decade. Toronto merged with 5 of it's suburbs in 1998, increasing it's population from less than 700,000 to more than 2.3 million. Montreal's population jumped from about 1.1 million to about 1.8 million a few years ago when the entire island merged into one city. Ottawa went from about 300,000 people to about 700,000 people. Several other cities have merged as well.

Many people whined about the proposed mergers before they happened, but you didn't hear about this complaining for long afterwards. The verdict seems to be positive for the most part.

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Minneapolis - St Paul is a massive conglameration anyway. I'm sure it dominates Minnesota politics muhc like Atlanta dominates Georgia. Giving that population one government could very likely increase its power. I'm not sure how well this would go over with the rest of the state.

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Although I haven't done much research into the matter, I believe it will be the second biggest merger between two cities (if it happens). The largest being New York and its boroughs merging in the late 1800's-early 1900's.

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Many people whined about the proposed mergers before they happened, but you didn't hear about this complaining for long afterwards. The verdict seems to be positive for the most part.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I live in Toronto. And I wouldn't call the people who opposed the merger "whiners". This was a blatantly anti-democratic move by the Ontario government, which ironically talked about getting the government off people's backs. Referendums were held showing overwhelming majorities opposed, but the govt. didn't care.

The two-tier system that operated in Toronto (which included Toronto and some of its suburbs, which had a regional govt. look after regional issues, and local govts. look after very local issues) was praised worldwide as a model of metropolitan govt. The problem with it was not that it was costly/inefficient, but because the Metro govt. was created in 1953 it didn't include the suburban areas that have developed since the 70s. Now about half of the Toronto area's people live in suburbs that weren't part of this structure.

Now Toronto has one govt. and since the suburban municipalities outnumber the old city in population, the city council has a very suburban orientation. I think people who advocate mergers in the US ought to seriously look at what happened in Toronto. Now it's true that people aren't out in the streets demanding the re-instatement of the Metro structure, but if they were offered the choice most people would say yes.

And if you think it saved the taxpayers money, I urge you to read a paper by Harvey Schwartz of Toronto's York University.

Harvey Schwartz,

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Thunder Bay in Ontario was two cities (can't remember the names) so maybe MSP could look at how it worked for them. But I can't see the two towns merging. Heck, even Robbinsdale-Crystal-New Hope still can't find a way to merge, and those suburbs are tiny with much less administrative issues!

Then you have the daunting task of coming up with a new name for the unified city. Or, you could just have a symbol, like Prince did. :P

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Having just returned from MSP, I would oppose a merger of the two cities. St. Paul is a relatively quaint, low-adrenaline city, whereas Minneapolis is on the threshold of being a 24/7 big city. The two are so distinct that maintaining separate corporate boundaries seems most logical.

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Personally, I think the two cities are better served as two entities. They have individual reputations and I think their importance, separately, would diminish greatly.

Mergers, by-and-large, are not bad at all. Louisville, KY, and virtually every large city in Hampton Roads (my area) have merged.

Virginia Beach merged with Princess Anne County in the '60s and that turned out rather well. But neither city had the history or the reputation of Minnea. or SP at that time and weren't yet established as a city.

I think the two cities are better-off separate, but the clout of a city with almost 700,000 residents could provide useful for tax purposes and attracting business.

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I doubt it would ever happen. But imagine a single city with two separate downtowns with two distinct skylines separated by only eight or nine miles...

ihnp-553126thumb.jpg

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I doubt it would ever happen.  But imagine a single city with two separate downtowns with two distinct skylines separated by only eight or nine miles...

ihnp-553126thumb.jpg

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Atlanta has something similar to that (In Atlanta, the Buckhead neighborhood is a few miles north of downtown, and it is becoming more and more like a second downtown for Atlanta).

Dallas and Houston have multiple districts of great importance to the cities.

Also, if Minneapolis and St. Paul merged, I think one of the downtown areas would become more dominant over the other (probably Minneapolis').

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I've lived in Minneapolis and I have lived in Saint Paul. Although called the Twin Cities, they are not at all Twins which is why merging would be difficult. The downtowns are only five miles apart, but they are worlds away.

Saint Paul is older, more historic, it has numerous colleges and stately victorian neighborhoods. It feels like a smaller river town set high on the bluffs of the Mississippi. It has a small cute downtown but unfortunately it has been dying a slow death. It is a city still dominated by stone structures and museums, capitol buildings. It is an old-money sort of town. They did recently get a new hockey arena and there has been somewhat of a housing boom near downtown, so it is getting a bit of attention but it still is a town that runs at a slower pace.

Compare that to Minneapolis --which sits on the start of the plains. It is a newer city which is reflected in all it's tall glass skyscrapers. It is booming--it has over 50 new housing projects planned for the downtown alone and some rank 40-60 stories. Minneapolis is a new-money town (even the mayor got wealthey with dot com money) with lounges and upscale dance clubs. Minneapolis is constantly tearing buildings down and putting up something newer, sleeker.

You can sum up the difference when you realize that the best hotel in Saint Paul is the historic Saint Paul Hotel -- The best one in Minneapolis is the brand new Le Meridian --and of course it is sleek and modern with trendy lounges and clubs.

But if they Merged --- how About "Minnea-PAUL-is"

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If anything, I'm thinking the Twin Cities will fragment, not merge, even more with Bloomington growing at such a fast pace. "The Triplet Cities" is a phrase we all could be uttering someday. Bloomington is mildly getting a skyline, although its totally strewn along the 494 strip. And now with the Lightrail running into Bloomington, with the whole "Bloomington Central" concept of mixed-used buildings, and Phase II of Mall of America...well, its looking more lively than St. Paul.

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Bloomington once wanted the area to be called the tri cities....but it has a long long way to go before i will consider it a real city --although it already is more lively than Saint Paul.

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Bloomington really isn't growing though. It's pretty stagnat at about 85,000 people. Rochester has already raced past it. Roch is at about 95,000 people.

Bloomie is growing in terms of high rises though, especially condos. That massive project over by the LRT station. Reflections, I believe it's called.

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Bloomington really isn't growing though. It's pretty stagnat at about 85,000 people. Rochester has already raced past it. Roch is at about 95,000 people.

Bloomie is growing in terms of high rises though, especially condos. That massive project over by the LRT station. Reflections, I believe it's called.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think you are right, at least according to the Met Council's numbers. But where did I see that Bloomington had surpassed the 100,000 mark at one point? Or am I somehow imagining that? (Which wouldn't surprise me!)

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Last I checked, bloomington is still below the 100,000 mark, but I say they might get it in 2 or 3 years at this rate. Someone mentioned that Bloomington is not growing, but building condo's. The reason for the condos is that there's no room to grow out, so they are growing up instead. Higher population density, same space. But they are going to need a lot more condo projects and office towers before I would consider them a real "city"

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Now imagine a high-speed transit link between the two cities, with zero or few stops in between (something like 15 minutes Minneapolis to St Paul) and you effectively have 1 city.

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Now imagine a high-speed transit link between the two cities, with zero or few stops in between (something like 15 minutes Minneapolis to St Paul) and you effectively have 1 city.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No stops? What would be the point? Why would people need to go directly from Downtown Minneapolis to downtown Saint Paul? I like the paln that goes through the U of M and past the capitol before reaching Saint Paul.

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No stops?  What would be the point?  Why would people need to go directly from Downtown Minneapolis to downtown Saint Paul?...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

We're located in downtown Minneapolis and do business with several clients in downtown St. Paul. Often we have to drive between the two downtowns for business meetings or to transport materials if a courier can't. Many other businesses have the same issue. It would be nice to have a non-stop or limited-stop service of some sort between the two cities during the workday. Brief stops at the U and in the Midway would work too.

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