LAKEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — All week long the WCCO Morning Show team has been putting the suburbs in the spotlight, visiting different places around the metro area to find out their unique characteristics.

Natalie Nyhus threw her dart and it landed on Lakeville, 23 miles south of downtown Minneapolis in Dakota County. It’s also the 11th largest landmass in the state at 38 square miles — the same size as Bloomington — and the current population is just over 55,000.

It’s also the home of the Lakeville North Panthers and Lakeville South Cougars.

When seeking out what makes Lakeville shine, who better to talk to than Mr. Lakeville himself? Bob Erickson is a 14-year veteran city administrator and active volunteer, and a real friendly one, even striking up conversation with our photographer (who is also named Bob).

As its name implies, Lakeville contains several lakes within its borders.

“One of the lakes, Kingsley Lake is the southernmost lake in Minnesota that has a pair of nesting loons on it. You wouldn’t think of nesting loons in the metro area,” Erickson said.

There are also architectural gems; Nyhus located a Frank Lloyd Wright home, which housed a conductor for the Minnesota Orchestra and the pioneer of women’s golf, Patty Berg. She was the first women of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

Lakeville also has a thriving art scene anchored by the Lakeville Area Arts Center in historic downtown. It’s now the home to art installations, a performance space with seating for 300, and community produced pieces.

And downtown you’ll find another hot spot: a corner store called Perfectly Random. The mother-daughter team of Terri and Kate Tischer run the family business. It’s so supported by the community, Nyhus said she received nearly 40 emails telling her to check it out.

“I grew up here and spent my entire life here. We are at home here,” Kate Tischer said. “It’s awesome coming into the store and seeing my kindergarten teacher and dance teacher. We are family here.”

Fun fact: The school district is the 10th largest in the state with the highest graduation rate of the 10 largest districts.

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