The Free Press, Mankato, MN

August 17, 2013

Our View: Mankato ranks near top again

The Free Press

---- — Thumbs up to the governments, businesses and people of the Mankato region for once again working together in ways that improve the community's economic standing.

Forbes ranked the Mankato/North Mankato area 10th in the country for Best Small Places for Business and Careers. The region was compared to all other MSAs in the country with populations of fewer than 250,000 people. It's a move up for the region which was ranked 25th in 2011 and 11th in 2012. The region finished ahead St. Cloud (55th) and Rochester (35th).

Forbes considers 12 metrics in ranking the regions, including business costs and educational attainment. Other measures include job growth, income growth and projected economic growth. The ranking also includes cultural and recreational opportunities.

The Mankato region continues to pile up quality of life measures and it doesn't surprise residents, but it's reasonable to conclude that a lot of institutions, people and businesses work together in the Mankato/North Mankato region. Conflicts are resolved and solutions to problems are arrived at in collaborative ways. There are very few turf battles. Employers find governments mostly easy to work with to expand economic opportunities.

The Forbes ranking is something everyone can take pride in.

Don't complicate special session

Thumbs down to the idea of adding Sunday liquor sales to the agenda of the upcoming Minnesota special legislative session.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States wants lawmakers to use the special session to put a question on the November ballot allowing Minnesotans to vote on whether or not they want to legalize Sunday liquor sales.

Sunday sales come up almost every session but has trouble making headway as many retailers — particularly small liquor stores — don't want the added expense and hassle of being open on Sundays.

Regardless of your stand on the issue, the special session is no place to deal with it. They are called "special" sessions for a reason.

The session was initially proposed to deal with disaster aid for recent storm victims. Gov. Mark Dayton has opened the door to one more potential issue to be dealt with — a repeal of a new tax on labor for farm machinery repair, a tax Dayton said many realized too late was a bad idea.

Skol Vikings training camp

Thumbs up to a successful Vikings training camp. The camp drew about 69,000 spectators this year, according to final estimates, placing it among the most visited camps in the event's 48-year history in Mankato. (Last year about 52,000 attended.)

Part of the credit might be due to Mother Nature who provided lots of perfect summer days with sunshine, low humidity and moderate temperatures.

The camp not only gives Mankato a boost as far as things to do, but having the camp here also contributed about $5 million to the local economy.

Luckily the Vikings and host Minnesota State University have signed a deal to continue their relationship through 2015.

Editorial Board

Nicollet County Fair was a great experience

We would like to thank the Nicollet County Fair Board for a really good job on the fair.

We found our favorite corn dogs and other great food. The blow-up play things for kids were an inspired idea. What a thrill it was to ride in a horse-drawn trolley. The guy at the reins had a beautiful singing voice.

It was a great fair and a great experience.

Jim and Sandie Tessien