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St. Croix County in Decline

St. Croix County is in decline, according to recent population estimates and housing sales. It's not a blip. It's a generational change. But there is something we can do.

For the first time in a lifetime, the U.S. Census reported earlier this year that cities are growing faster than suburbs.  And the leading U.S. housing expert said suburbs are now in long term decline.

That's certainly the case with St. Croix County. Population in St. Croix County has not grown as fast as the urban counties of Hennepin and Ramsey in the last five years.  And housing sales are lagging behind those two more urban counties in our metro area as well.

It's not a blip. It's a generational change, as younger people need and prefer communities with light rail and train stations.  In fact, a professor at the University of Las Vegas says the only suburban cities that are growing are those with train stations.

We can keep St. Croix County prosperous and growing by getting a commuter train station in Hudson.

The SCV Rail Group is a group of local business people and citizens supporting a train station for Hudson.  The group has people from Hudson, New Richmond, and River Falls, all in St. Croix County.

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William Draves is a small businessman, Wisconsin native, and futurist living in River Falls.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

William A. Draves October 20, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Pavil, the second important point for older adults to understand is that the changes began in 2001. That's the first report of Gen Y driving less, which is a key to understanding why St. Croix County is now in decline. And train ridership began setting records in 2005. Both 2001 and 2005 were years which were economically prosperous and had a Republican administration nationally. So politics does not play a role in transportation or population shifts. The reason why we don't see a decline in St. Croix County population until now is that people who are now 35 (the age group where we see a 9% drop in St. Croix County) were not old enough in 2001 to buy homes.
Pavil Natanovich October 29, 2012 at 04:41 AM
The facts don't support the statements made by Draves. Population growth in Hudson in 2010 & 2011 has outpaced both Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Time will tell whether the presence of passenger rail leads to more rapid population growth or not. Perhaps Draves will be proven right in the end. There just isn't any proof to back his theory right now.
William A. Draves November 01, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Pavil, my data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as housing experts, who say the suburbs have now gone into decline. Their data was good enough to make national media, such as USA Today. I think we're past the "theory" stage.
yomammy November 01, 2012 at 05:57 PM
we could built a 76 million dollar station in hudson...ooooo...maybe at the DOG TRACK!!!!
Carbon Bigfuut November 01, 2012 at 08:54 PM
That makes about as much sense as the current light rail implementations going on. Instead of using current railroad corridors, the "progressive" designers want to build near the freeways and cause even more congestion. Since there's no railroad anywhere near the dog track, they might go for your suggestion. The good news is that the Sierra Club will oppose any additional bridges, even for light rail.

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