Reporting Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – In his State of the City address, Mayor Chris Coleman said he wanted to figure out a way to bring more young adults east of the Mississippi. He says young professionals are the city’s future.
And even though Minneapolis may be known more for attracting the younger demographic, Coleman says his city is gunning for a younger crowd as well.
Joe Campbell with the mayor’s office says they are trying to prove they don’t just cater to older residents and families.
“What I can tell you is that downtown St. Paul is changing and has momentum and is a vibrant city that has vitality,” Campbell said.
He says the new plan for the city to pull in the younger crowd is to focus on issues such as transportation and education.
“We add more downtown bike lanes, we remain even more committed to closing the achievement gap in our public schools, we commit to expanding our transit network in the city,” he said.
Most importantly, Coleman said it’s about making the town business friendly because he thinks people like to live close to where they work.
Ingrid Christensen chose St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood to be home to both herself and her international translating company.
“We could be anywhere, but I choose to be here,” Christensen said. “I live in the neighborhood and I choose to be in a neighborhood that supports me.”
Christensen graduated from the U of M and moved to St. Paul, where she was originally drawn to the city’s affordable housing. She eventually got hooked on the neighborhood feel and business support she got from her neighbors.
She says there is room to grow, and she’d like to see more people her age as well as more bars and restaurants in area neighborhoods.
Campbell says growing the entertainment scene is just one part of a plan to lure young professionals to the capitol city.
“I would say that don’t cross it out. I mean, come to St. Paul and look at everything that we have,” Christensen said.
The city says despite perception, almost 50 percent of the people in the downtown portion of St. Paul are between 20 – 35 years old. They are hoping that number will soon increase.