Thankful for Minneapolis

Minneapolis needs to advertise all its great features for its future well-being.

Chris Iverson

Sitting at my aunt and uncle’s Thanksgiving table Thursday, I was thinking about the many things to be thankful for this holiday season.

Urban-obsessed as I am, my mind meandered to how great living in Minneapolis is. I forgot that to outsiders, the city might as well be a bunch of igloos. This may be true mid-January, but Minneapolis has more to offer.

The problem is that we don’t advertise our attributes well enough to impact the country’s notions of our state and its largest city.

Minnesota’s stereotype is rooted in programs like “How I Met Your Mother,” which portray a less-than-sophisticated Minnesotan attitude. The popular Minnesota Public Radio program “A Prairie Home Companion” constantly refers to Lake Wobegon as a well-knit, quaint Minnesotan community.

But Minneapolis is everything that a young, graduated professional would want in an urban setting.

The American Fitness Index said Minneapolis was the fittest city this year along with Bloomington and St. Paul, and Forbes Magazine declared Minneapolis the healthiest city nationwide. The City of Lakes is also well-known as one of the top biking cities in the country. Bicycling Magazine said Minneapolis was the second-best bike-friendly city last year, behind rival Portland, Ore.

Minnesota has also done wonders in the post-recession period. The Twin Cities and Minnesota have unemployment rates of 4.7 and 4.8 percent, respectively — some of the lowest nationwide. Also, Minnesota has more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other state. With major companies and more jobs than many urban areas, the city has a lot to offer young people and recent graduates.

We can’t just let these traits speak for themselves. We must do more to advertise our awesomeness.

Our stereotype of being traditional and quaint, although not negative, is still something we should combat in order to attract outside talent.

The University of Minnesota does a great job of providing young Minnesotans, but in order to continue the city’s growth, we need more than Golden Gopher graduates to fill the job market.

Some Minneapolis officials, like R.T. Rybak, have done their best to attract young, out-of-state talent.

Rybak’s recent Midwest tour to promote Minneapolis as a same-sex marriage destination garnered positive national attention, and it could bring money and young people into the city. This type of thinking needs to continue as the next round of city officials enters office next year.

Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges and the seven new City Council members need to build upon the city’s successes. National advertising efforts for the city and the state should attempt to capture not just the millennial population but also young families and retirees of all ages.

In my opinion, Minneapolis’ features are strong enough to bring masses to the state. With a larger population base and a bigger, younger, educated workforce, Minneapolis will be able to thrive both fiscally and socially.

Upcoming events like the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minneapolis will help highlight the city’s positive traits. We should capitalize on the national attention.

Minneapolis should build upon city tours and advertising campaigns to show out-of-towners that living in Minneapolis is not a bitter-cold thought.