Good news is stacking up for St. Joseph from a variety of unrelated actions that will help the city grow and attract new businesses and residents.
Midco recently announced gigabit internet service is now available, which offers business and residents online speeds as much as 35 times faster than standard services.
That technology upgrade should make St. Joseph an attractive location for startup companies that depend on the fastest, more reliable internet service. Gig internet for example, in not available in St. Cloud.
For the growing number of telecommuters, having access to gig internet at home means St. Joseph is an attractive place to live, especially for young families looking for a small-town environment.
Last week, a study by a security company ranked St. Joseph the eighth safest place to live in Minnesota. If you are thinking about where to live, safety is usually a top priority. The ranking, compiled by Security Baron, analyzed FBI rankings of crime rates to find the safest cities.
While Central Minnesota is generally a very safe place to live, St. Joseph’s neighbors did not rank as high. Sartell ranked 44, Sauk Rapids 60, St. Cloud 115 and Waite Park 123. Big Lake, in Sherburne County, ranked at the top of the list.
More good news, especially for young families, arrived in August with the release of the latest state school test scores. Kennedy Community School, serving about 800 pre-school through eighth-grade students, outperformed other elementary schools in the St. Cloud school district.
For example, Kennedy students recorded the second highest score, behind Clearview Elementary School, among the district’s elementary and secondary students for reading achievement. Kennedy’s percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards was 57.9 percent, below the statewide percentage of 58.29 but ahead of the district score of 44.92.
Meanwhile, downtown St. Joseph continues to grow with new or improved shopping and entertainment options.
This spring, Bad Habit moved to a new location in the old city hall because the craft brewer had outgrown its original location. With financing help from the city, Bad Habit’s owners remodeled the old building into a shiny, bright place to hang out and enjoy a cold brew.
Across the street, 24 North lofts are slowly filling up. On the ground floor, a planned new restaurant, Krewe, received a boost when the city approved a loan. If you’re hungry and can’t wait until Krewe opens, there are plenty of options.
Next door, there’s Sliced and across the street, Gary’s if you’re craving pizza, or Bo Diddley’s if you prefer soup and a sandwich. Around the corner, Bello Cucina offers a more formal meal. Just east of downtown, Neighbors Route 75 offers a more casual atmosphere for food and drink. And speaking of drink, Milk and Honey Ciders serves an alcoholic alternative to beer. St. Joseph’s longtime favorite, Kay’s Kitchen, serves hearty breakfasts and lunches.
Quality of life goes beyond eating and drinking. The volunteer group Cultural Bridges provides English lessons, school homework help, social connections and help finding work for the city’s newest residents. The Hanging Flower Baskets project, supported by a long list of businesses and individuals, beautifies the city’s streets.
All these efforts, by individual citizens, government and business, adds up to a growing, thriving community.