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My husband and I are seriously considering a move to Rochester. I would love to hear from those who live there or have lived there.

I'm very curious as to the insiders view of the city. What is the downtown area like? Is it pedestrian friendly?

Do any of you have a mid sized city that you think would be a better fit for a family of 4? (2 teenage daughters)

Our other considerations are Duluth and Madison WI.

ANY info would be a great help.

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My husband and I are seriously considering a move to Rochester.  I would love to hear from those who live there or have lived there. 

I'm very curious as to the insiders view of the city.  What is the downtown area like?  Is it pedestrian friendly? 

Do any of you have a mid sized city that you think would be a better fit for a family of 4? (2 teenage daughters) 

Our other considerations are Duluth and Madison WI.

ANY info would be a great help.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I moved from Rochester, MN to Austin, TX earlier this summer, after eight years in Rochester. If you don't mind smaller towns and cold climates (which I do mind) you may like Rochester.

On the positive side, there is virtually no traffic, very little crime, and it's close enough to the Twin Cities for a big city change of pace on the weekends. The downtown is walkable year round because there are climate controlled walkways above and below ground connecting all the major buildings.

But my personal opinion is that unless you work in a medical related field at the Mayo Clinic, there is very little there.

Duluth (i.e. Lake Superior) is great in the Summer, but the winters are another story.

If I had to live in the Upper Midwest, I would definitely choose Madison (or the Twin Cities.) Being the state capitol, and having a large university make Madison a very interesting city with more activities than most cities it's size.

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I live in Minneapolis. If I were going to move to a smaller city, I would choose Madison. It is a college town so it has a lot to offer --especially for teens. Plus it is built on the lakes so it is beautiful.

Duluth is way too cold...check out their average high temps. Yikes!!

Don't know much about Rochester --other than the Mayo.

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Rochester is a great place. My grandmother and father both grew up there. I live in Minneapolis, but the small town is wonderful. The school system is good, shopping and entertainment is prentiful and I believe that it was voted like 8 times in a row as the bet small city to live in in the US.

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Thank you all for your quick replys.

We have considered both Duluth, Madison and Ames (iowa) as well as Rochester. I think I will fly up sometime in October and take a few days in each city to help me decide.

We don't mind the cold at all and are looking for a nice, quiet mid sized city with low crime and exceptional education.

Thanks again for the comments and suggestions!

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Thank you all for your quick replys.

We have considered both Duluth, Madison and Ames (iowa) as well as Rochester. I think I will fly up sometime in October and take a few days in each city to help me decide.

We don't mind the cold at all and are looking for a nice, quiet mid sized city with low crime and exceptional education.

Thanks again for the comments and suggestions!

I can give you some of my perspectives....

I lived in Rochester for four years working at the Mayo Clinic (I have some photos of Rochester on my photo page linked below). I think whether you enjoy Rochester depends on what you want. I'm more of a city person, and that colors my opinions.

In short, Rochester is a community of about 80,000 (with an impressive skyline for a city that size) that surprisingly feels more like a small town of 8,000. It's a community where people's focus is on their kids, their church, their homes, and virtually nothing else. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, then it's great.

If you want other things, like an arts scene, culture, restaurants, events, great retail, or a sense of "place," then you might want to look elsewhere, like Madison, WI which is a much larger city that has all these things in spades.

I always said that Rochester is more defined by what it lacks than what it has. It's low crime, low cost, and traffic is near non-existant.

But the sidewalks roll up at 4:30 PM, there's zero nightlife and the restaurant scene is near non-existant and truly depressing (hope you like Perkins, because there's four of them there!). You ask if it's pedestrian. Well, it depends upon what you mean. Yes, many of the suburbs have sidewalks, and that's great. But the "urban core" of Rochester is only about 4-5 square blocks, many of which are filled with Mayo Clinic buildings, churches, and parking garages. Only 1-2 blocks of "Historic Third Street" will, if you squint and don't look around too much, convince you that you are in anything resembling an urban neighborhood (and it's totally deserted for 90% of the weekend). I made the hour and 40 minute drive each way to the Twin Cities almost every weekend for four years for anything to do (and don't let anyone tell you the drive is any shorter... Sure, it's maybe 55 minutes to a sign that says you are entering the Cities, but to any destination of worth like the restaurant districts, the Dome, theater district, etc is an hour 40...).

Rochester is now essentially a sprawled bedroom community that desperately wants to divide itself into several distinct suburban entites (NW, NE, SW, with the SE being something of a "hood" of sorts). Several proposals to develop more of a residential and retail identity in the downtown have been sounded beaten down by the suburban sensitives of the area's residents.

It's too bad. If you look at photos from the 20's to the 50's, it actually appeared to be a quite vibrant little city. It's that no longer except at lunchtime when all the workers have commuted in and are grabbing a bite to eat...

I think you see where I'm going with this and what my preferences were. If you desire a full fledged urban environment with everything that entails in the upper Midwest, you should be looking at Chicago, Minneapolis-St Paul, Madison, or even Duluth (which is smaller, but much more vibrant than Rochester). If you're happy with quiet, crime-free, traffic-free work days, brunch with the family at Perkins or Denny's followed by shopping at Super-Walmart, maybe a movie in the afternoons on Saturday, church on Sunday, everyone home and tucked in by 8 PM, maybe add in some occasional fly fishing or hunting... If this is your idea of heaven, then Rochester quiet honestly is one of the best places in America for that.

If you want any more out of life for you and your family than that, look elsewhere. It's all about what you want.

- Garris

Providence, RI

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I can give you some of my perspectives....

I lived in Rochester for four years working at the Mayo Clinic (I have some photos of Rochester on my photo page linked below). I think whether you enjoy Rochester depends on what you want. I'm more of a city person, and that colors my opinions.

In short, Rochester is a community of about 80,000 (with an impressive skyline for a city that size) that surprisingly feels more like a small town of 8,000. It's a community where people's focus is on their kids, their church, their homes, and virtually nothing else. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, then it's great.

If you want other things, like an arts scene, culture, restaurants, events, great retail, or a sense of "place," then you might want to look elsewhere, like Madison, WI which is a much larger city that has all these things in spades.

I always said that Rochester is more defined by what it lacks than what it has. It's low crime, low cost, and traffic is near non-existant.

But the sidewalks roll up at 4:30 PM, there's zero nightlife and the restaurant scene is near non-existant and truly depressing (hope you like Perkins, because there's four of them there!). You ask if it's pedestrian. Well, it depends upon what you mean. Yes, many of the suburbs have sidewalks, and that's great. But the "urban core" of Rochester is only about 4-5 square blocks, many of which are filled with Mayo Clinic buildings, churches, and parking garages. Only 1-2 blocks of "Historic Third Street" will, if you squint and don't look around too much, convince you that you are in anything resembling an urban neighborhood (and it's totally deserted for 90% of the weekend). I made the hour and 40 minute drive each way to the Twin Cities almost every weekend for four years for anything to do (and don't let anyone tell you the drive is any shorter... Sure, it's maybe 55 minutes to a sign that says you are entering the Cities, but to any destination of worth like the restaurant districts, the Dome, theater district, etc is an hour 40...).

Rochester is now essentially a sprawled bedroom community that desperately wants to divide itself into several distinct suburban entites (NW, NE, SW, with the SE being something of a "hood" of sorts). Several proposals to develop more of a residential and retail identity in the downtown have been sounded beaten down by the suburban sensitives of the area's residents.

It's too bad. If you look at photos from the 20's to the 50's, it actually appeared to be a quite vibrant little city. It's that no longer except at lunchtime when all the workers have commuted in and are grabbing a bite to eat...

I think you see where I'm going with this and what my preferences were. If you desire a full fledged urban environment with everything that entails in the upper Midwest, you should be looking at Chicago, Minneapolis-St Paul, Madison, or even Duluth (which is smaller, but much more vibrant than Rochester). If you're happy with quiet, crime-free, traffic-free work days, brunch with the family at Perkins or Denny's followed by shopping at Super-Walmart, maybe a movie in the afternoons on Saturday, church on Sunday, everyone home and tucked in by 8 PM, maybe add in some occasional fly fishing or hunting... If this is your idea of heaven, then Rochester quiet honestly is one of the best places in America for that.

If you want any more out of life for you and your family than that, look elsewhere. It's all about what you want.

- Garris

Providence, RI

Very well said Providence. I always felt safe in Rochester but I didn't look back when I left.

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I was born and raised in Rochester, and spent most of my 27 years there, before moving to Minneapolis 5 years ago.

80,000? Try over 92,000 and growing like a weed. There are many wonderful smaller towns within 15 minutes of Rochester, that are also growing.

Mayo and IBM are the two top dogs in Rochester. As far as no traffic? Well, they just spent millions to upgrade highway 52 into a 6-lane freeway BECAUSE of traffic problems. It'a great place to raise a family with top notch schools and medical facilities. It's becoming a hub for a lot of "big-box" stores and other shopping.

Like NICKMGRAY said, it's been voted one of the top 5 small cities in America several years running, for best places to live.

Lots of good golf courses, biking/hiking trails, parks, etc.

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80,000? Try over 92,000 and growing like a weed. There are many wonderful smaller towns within 15 minutes of Rochester, that are also growing.

80,000 or 90,000 or 100,000... It doesn't matter how big the metro is, it feels like 8,000... And that growth is part of the problem. Rochester isn't growing as an "urban" area, it's growing as a suburb, with bad (and quite exploitative) sprawl...

Mayo and IBM are the two top dogs in Rochester. As far as no traffic? Well, they just spent millions to upgrade highway 52 into a 6-lane freeway BECAUSE of traffic problems.

Let's just say that what Rochester calls traffic and what NY, LA, Philly, Phoenix, etc call traffic are different things. At the height of Rochester traffic, I was still able to go "door to door" from my apartment in the fringe of the NW to St. Mary's in a max of 15 minutes... Minus traffic, 8-10...

It'a great place to raise a family with top notch schools and medical facilities. It's becoming a hub for a lot of "big-box" stores and other shopping.

I never denied it's a great place to raise a family. I said as much in my post, as long as you don't expect anything more than that from the area. As for becoming a "hub" of big box stores, well, every metro on Earth has a Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc... We have 4, FOUR!! of each one of those within a 10 minute drive of my house where I now live... Go any direction, and you'll hit one of the above within 10 minutes... It's pretty depressing. For Rochester, though, it was quite an advance.

Like NICKMGRAY said, it's been voted one of the top 5 small cities in America several years running, for best places to live.

I don't put much stock in those lists. They are statistical churns. Those same lists also name my city (Providence) as the top place for people to retire, which makes no sense to me at all...

Again, it's a wonderful little bedroom community for Mayo and IBM with a strong focus on work, kids, and faith. It's safe, cheap, and easy to live. If that's the beginning and end for you, fantastic, it's one of the best in the US in that sense... If you hunger for more, there are better and more fulfilling metros in the Northern Midwest...

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Garis...are you seriously comparing traffic in Rochester to New York, Phoenix, and Los Angeles? Traffic in Roch doesn't compare to those places? Really......ya don't say? -_-

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Garis...are you seriously comparing traffic in Rochester to New York, Phoenix, and Los Angeles? Traffic in Roch doesn't compare to those places? Really......ya don't say? -_-

That was my point. When they started working on the 52 changes, we asked why. When the answer was "traffic," we were shocked. "What traffic" we asked? All I could guess is that they are expecting more explosive growth on the West side of SW 2nd and in the SW in general, and are anticipating a higher volume at that intersection.

- Garris

Providence, RI

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I see you are considering Ames, I would go with Des Moines. Ames is not a progressive city, despite Iowa State. The city has one out dated mall, a developer is trying to build a new one...and half the town is battling the growth. Ames is very small minded in my opinion. It's not a bad place, but it's certainly not great either. I think there are better options out there. Good luck

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I can give you some of my perspectives....

I lived in Rochester for four years working at the Mayo Clinic (I have some photos of Rochester on my photo page linked below). I think whether you enjoy Rochester depends on what you want. I'm more of a city person, and that colors my opinions.

In short, Rochester is a community of about 80,000 (with an impressive skyline for a city that size) that surprisingly feels more like a small town of 8,000. It's a community where people's focus is on their kids, their church, their homes, and virtually nothing else. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, then it's great.

If you want other things, like an arts scene, culture, restaurants, events, great retail, or a sense of "place," then you might want to look elsewhere, like Madison, WI which is a much larger city that has all these things in spades.

I always said that Rochester is more defined by what it lacks than what it has. It's low crime, low cost, and traffic is near non-existant.

But the sidewalks roll up at 4:30 PM, there's zero nightlife and the restaurant scene is near non-existant and truly depressing (hope you like Perkins, because there's four of them there!). You ask if it's pedestrian. Well, it depends upon what you mean. Yes, many of the suburbs have sidewalks, and that's great. But the "urban core" of Rochester is only about 4-5 square blocks, many of which are filled with Mayo Clinic buildings, churches, and parking garages. Only 1-2 blocks of "Historic Third Street" will, if you squint and don't look around too much, convince you that you are in anything resembling an urban neighborhood (and it's totally deserted for 90% of the weekend). I made the hour and 40 minute drive each way to the Twin Cities almost every weekend for four years for anything to do (and don't let anyone tell you the drive is any shorter... Sure, it's maybe 55 minutes to a sign that says you are entering the Cities, but to any destination of worth like the restaurant districts, the Dome, theater district, etc is an hour 40...).

Rochester is now essentially a sprawled bedroom community that desperately wants to divide itself into several distinct suburban entites (NW, NE, SW, with the SE being something of a "hood" of sorts). Several proposals to develop more of a residential and retail identity in the downtown have been sounded beaten down by the suburban sensitives of the area's residents.

It's too bad. If you look at photos from the 20's to the 50's, it actually appeared to be a quite vibrant little city. It's that no longer except at lunchtime when all the workers have commuted in and are grabbing a bite to eat...

I think you see where I'm going with this and what my preferences were. If you desire a full fledged urban environment with everything that entails in the upper Midwest, you should be looking at Chicago, Minneapolis-St Paul, Madison, or even Duluth (which is smaller, but much more vibrant than Rochester). If you're happy with quiet, crime-free, traffic-free work days, brunch with the family at Perkins or Denny's followed by shopping at Super-Walmart, maybe a movie in the afternoons on Saturday, church on Sunday, everyone home and tucked in by 8 PM, maybe add in some occasional fly fishing or hunting... If this is your idea of heaven, then Rochester quiet honestly is one of the best places in America for that.

If you want any more out of life for you and your family than that, look elsewhere. It's all about what you want.

- Garris

Providence, RI

Thank you for such an insiders view point.. exactly what I was looking for.

I think that probably for me and my family, the nice quiet, family and faith filled days are exactly what we are after. I am a little disappointed to find that the urban downtown area is lacking. I was hoping for some decent downtown shopping on Saturday afternoons.

I'm actually going to fly up to Rochester and spend a few days checking things out. While in the area I will drive over to Madison WI also. I'm just concerned that Madison may be larger than what we are looking for.

Anyway, thank you for the advice.

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I think that probably for me and my family, the nice quiet, family and faith filled days are exactly what we are after.

Then Rochester might indeed be near perfection for you...

I am a little disappointed to find that the urban downtown area is lacking. I was hoping for some decent downtown shopping on Saturday afternoons.

While you might go to a restaurant or two downtown (before they all close at 8), there really isn't any shopping there at all. A furniture store here and there, but not much else. Most shopping happens at the Apache Mall, the Walmarts/Targets, or up in the Twin Cities.

I'm actually going to fly up to Rochester and spend a few days checking things out. While in the area I will drive over to Madison WI also. I'm just concerned that Madison may be larger than what we are looking for.

Anyway, thank you for the advice.

I guess it depends on what your definition of "larger" is... Madison's city population is about 400,000 and metro about 500,000 total. Providence, RI, where I live now, has a city population of 170,000 and metro population of about 900,000, and Providence is usually considered by most to be a "small" metro.

I would encourage you to look at the Madison suburbs. It might give you the quieter lifestyle you desire with a more urban nearby metro than Rochester will ever offer.

The two metros are going in opposite directions. Madison is boosting and bolstering its urban life, while Rochester is fast developing into a big suburb without much of an urban core.

In any event, I hope I could help. Please post your impressions after you return.

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Kudos galore for 1,000 days of construction

Sat, Oct 1, 2005

By Jeffrey Pieters

The Post-Bulletin

U.S. 52: THE FUTURE IS NOW

Rochester's highway makeover is almost ready for its final presentation.

Can you believe it?

"I can't," said Nelrae Succio, head engineer for the state Transportation Department's Rochester district. "It seems like just yesterday we were announcing it."

Actually, it was 1,066 days ago that state transportation officials stood at a podium and, with smiling faces but shaking hands, handed the $232 million U.S. 52 project, the largest road project in state history, to a private contractor, Zumbro River Constructors. For a place that allegedly has zero traffic, interesting........

What followed was 1,065 days of the most blistering and -- by consensus view -- most technically proficient construction activity this community has ever seen.

"They have done just an excellent job -- a superior job," said Chris Batchelder, who lives near Folwell Elementary School and watched the project unfold. "They have really tried to be understanding of the people in the neighborhood."

The 11-mile project, from 85th Street Northwest to U.S. 63 South, called for widening the highway from four lanes to six. It included reconstruction of four highway interchanges and new construction of a fifth.

Work crews built or rebuilt frontage roads over much of the project zone, raised two new overpasses and 24 bridges in all, and hoisted into place new sound-blocking walls totalling 230,000 square feet.

And all of this was done using an untested management practice called design-build, best value, which allowed the Transportation Department to get the job done faster, better and more cheaply than it otherwise might.

"We jumped into this with both feet, not knowing what we were going to do and how we were going to do it," said Succio, MnDOT's head engineer for this district.

"We delivered it on time and in budget," she said.

'All the stars aligned'

"All the stars got in alignment for us, putting this project together," Succio said. "I think it's a success story, from beginning to end."

The project had a mix of purposes: to replace tired concrete and to improve the carrying capacity and safety record on the road, where the accident rate was 36 percent higher than the state average.

In any given day, four-fifths of the highway drivers are local. The project enjoyed significant local support.

"It was still an inconvenience, but they lessened the blow the best they could," said Pat Capelle, who sees the highway from his southwest home and travels it each day. "It's all you can ask.

"In my area, they couldn't have been more pleasant to deal with."

Herb Morgan, executive manager of the project (since promoted to a vice president position in his company, Fluor Corp.), said the construction company's relationship with Rochester was a special one he'll remember.

"Our challenge was to continue to gain that support, to build on that support," Morgan said.

Best price, best value

Zumbro River Constructors' bid was distinguished as being the lowest price, with the highest evaulated technical score.

That's not the contradiction it might seem. Morgan said high quality and low price often go hand in hand.

A high score "indicates you understand the job. It's reflected over in your pricing," he said. "With knowledge comes confidence."

The contractor will be eligible for up to $2 million in incentives, including $1.5 million for finishing early, $100,000 for its public relations work, $200,000 for construction quality and $200,000 for design quality. The firm should receive all but about $60,000 of that, said Terry Ward, MnDOT's U.S. 52 project manager.

Zumbro River Constructors incurred no major penalties on the job. There were some minor penalties for material quality -- some materials were not available when the contractor needed them -- but "that happens on every job," Ward said.

MnDOT and ZRC are negotiating a slight contractual increase for rising fuel prices. Other materials and supplies that increased in price during the project are the contractor's loss.

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The 52 project did seem like it was well done, if nothing else. Note that they don't talk about what they actually accomplished by all this... A lot of that cost went into new exits Northward and new overpasses to continue the spread and sprawl of building in the NW and NE.

In my four years in Rochester, I learned not to read the Post Bulletin much... It's virtually a propaganda arm of the city and Mayo. You'll never read a word of criticism in the Post Bulletin (everything's great here!) and the term "investigate reporting" is something of a mystery still. At least as far as Mayo was concerned, the Post Bulletin was virtually a press release mill...

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Are rochester and st cloud doing anything to stop the virus-like sprawl across the countryside? Or are they die hard suburban?

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Are rochester and st cloud doing anything to stop the virus-like sprawl across the countryside? Or are they die hard suburban?

I can't speak for St. Cloud, but Rochester's residents can't get enough of it. The core is rapidly emptying for the "countryside." The most aspirational living in Rochester is a new 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 3 garage colonial (that looks like all the others on the street) for $250,000 near to the new Super-Walmart, Appleby's, and Blockbuster. If you're really lucky, you get one near your new mega-church and within quick driving distance of the pocket park with the swingset down the street.

No, Rochester residents have been killing downtown rejuvenation projects for years. There's absolutely zero enthusiasm for anything urban in Rochester. Folks there would say that if they had a desire for those things, they'd just take a day trip up to the Twin Cities. If I heard another person living in a new suburban Rochester development say that they didn't like going downtown because it's "too city" (this is a downtown of 5-6 square blocks, and one with no one living there and one with no underclass or "hood") I was going to commit myself to a psych ward. Instead, I left...

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Well, there's not nobody living downtown. Lots of senior condos. :thumbsup:

Actually, you have the 30 story Broadway Plaza condo tower, and another big project being planned along the river, by the Holiday Inn City Center. The Galleria is under rejuvination as well.

But, you have to put it in persepective. Rochester is all about Mayo. They own everything downtown, and thus everything operates on Mayo's hour's. Shops, restaruants, etc. From sun-up to sundown, Monday through Friday, downtown is quite a bustling place. But again, there's a reason for it.

Yeah, Rochester is a big suburb, but clearly something works, because it's growing like crazy, with no signs of slowing down. In 1990 it had about 57,000 people. Now, it's raced past Bloomington and Duluth, to become the state's thrd largest city with about 92,000 people.

It's a family oriented community, but they are aware of the fact that the age group of 15-30, really has trouble staying there. They are, however slowly, working on addressing that.

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Well, there's not nobody living downtown. Lots of senior condos. :thumbsup:

Actually, you have the 30 story Broadway Plaza condo tower, and another big project being planned along the river, by the Holiday Inn City Center. The Galleria is under rejuvination as well.

One of the things Mayo quietly advertises to men (seriously) is that the city has a 3:1 female to male ratio. It's not until you get there that you learn that the ratio is due to all the women in nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have outlived men!! :D

The Broadway Plaza was never targeted towards the community at large. It's all about visiting patients there for an extended period (especially Middle Eastern Arab patients). The building was bankrolled by a Middle Eastern group, and with its costs (starting at what, like $2500-$3000 per month rent), not many locals are going to be calling it home...

I'm interested to hear about the river project and the Galleria rejuvination, both of which must have been announced since I left.

But, you have to put it in persepective. Rochester is all about Mayo. They own everything downtown, and thus everything operates on Mayo's hour's. Shops, restaruants, etc. From sun-up to sundown, Monday through Friday, downtown is quite a bustling place. But again, there's a reason for it.

This is both the blessing (stability and growth) and curse (sidewalks roll up at 4:30 PM).

Yeah, Rochester is a big suburb, but clearly something works, because it's growing like crazy, with no signs of slowing down. In 1990 it had about 57,000 people. Now, it's raced past Bloomington and Duluth, to become the state's thrd largest city with about 92,000 people.

It's a family oriented community, but they are aware of the fact that the age group of 15-30, really has trouble staying there. They are, however slowly, working on addressing that.

There's no doubt it's growing like mad. I just wish the "city" were more of one, and more "urban." It's basically just a big, bland suburb now. Rochester looks like any other Minnesota suburb now... Drive through any of them, Edina to Rochester to Bloomington to Mendota Heights to Faribault to Owatonna... The only thing that distinguishes Rochester anymore is that Mayo sits in the center... It's kind of sad...

I don't mean to sound harsh, but Mayo really sells the city to perspective employees as something that it's really not. I bought the sell and worked there, but I eventually just had to escape. While Mayo is phenomenal (the best medical center in the US by far, in my opinion), I want people reading this just to know what exactly they're considering, not what they might be reading in the Mayo or Rochester literature...

Oh, and the funny thing is that Mayo is fully aware of the city's deficiencies and oddly don't act on them. Trust me, I know that Mayo, despite extremely generous benefits package and salaries, often has difficulty recruiting from larger metros. I met people they were chasing from NY, Philly, LA, etc who looked at Rochester and said, "Wow, you could never bring me here..." They really could use their largess to attract more arts, restaurants, activities, etc, but just don't... That conservative streak is just too strong...

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Are rochester and st cloud doing anything to stop the virus-like sprawl across the countryside? Or are they die hard suburban?

Garris seems to have done a great job explaining Rochester, and I can only comment a tiny bit on Saint Cloud. And it echo's Garris's comments. St. Cloud just seems to love sprawl and chain stores! Maybe I'm wrong, but it sure seems to me St. Cloud has forgone their central business district in favor of the Division Street strip going westward into Waite Park.

And at least Rochester seems a bit higher class, whereas Saint Cloud has the double-whammy of being bland AND seemingly white trashy, IMO. And the drivers are horrid there!

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I can't speak for St. Cloud, but Rochester's residents can't get enough of it. The core is rapidly emptying for the "countryside." The most aspirational living in Rochester is a new 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 3 garage colonial (that looks like all the others on the street) for $250,000 near to the new Super-Walmart, Appleby's, and Blockbuster. If you're really lucky, you get one near your new mega-church and within quick driving distance of the pocket park with the swingset down the street.

I know... its rediculous. The cooporate world is shaping these people in to exactly what they want.

If I stick to my urban planning major I'm going to be all against sprawl. Why can't people have any originality.... or common sense.

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