The nice part about living in Mankato is that you’re often times overlooked by statewide media. Sure, we’ll pop up here and there for the best hockey town or landing number 10 on nation’s drunkest city list, but despite this marginal attention, we’ve been simply humming along.
I have plenty of problems with Mankato that I espouse almost ad-nauseum on my blog, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want the city to have a little bit of recognition. Mankato has been on a bit of building boom in the last seven years. While unfortunately a lot of it has been low-density, ugly, boring, suburban sprawl, some of it is legitimately good stuff. We’ve had several multi-story buildings built recently and this summer promises even more.
While the design is lacking, a seven-story, mixed-use building is slated for a redevelopment of an, ostensibly, empty parcel, despite catching the ire of Jim Kunstler. Right across the street a new four-story building is slated to house a mental health company and right across the street from that is yet another seven-story building (it’s been “coming” for about three years now, who knows if it will get done.) The City Council just this week approved an affordable housing redevelopment of a former public works site, promising to bring even more people and activity into the city center. Finally, two entrepreneurs also announced a new brewery in that very same vicinity bringing the number of breweries in town to two.
Old Town Mankato (the only place not devastated by Urban Renewal) is also seeing a plethora of activity. A three-story infill project (I would use heart eyes emoji if I could) is slated for construction this summer. Just last year we opened a brand new food truck hub thanks to a local entrepreneur with a little bit of vision. One of our local favorites, The Midtown Tavern, also announced that they are transforming part of their space into a brew-pub, something that has been lacking in the Mankato MSA. While we’re on the topic of beer, its worth noting that the Mankato brewery has been chugging away making good beer for a few years now.
The city council is also considering reducing the stroad that dominated our only walkable shopping district from four lanes to three along with other improvements to the entire length of the corridor. Though we’ll wait and see if that comes to pass. The city also invested heavily in a huge new park south of town, reclaiming an old gravel quarry. Its connected by the best urban-to-rural trail in the area.
This isn’t meant to be a shill piece, but more of “Did you know?” Consider it a fluff piece. I’ll grant you that we have lots of problems, lots that would make Streets.mn writers say “Whyyyyyyyyy,” but it’s nice to celebrate the community every once in a while and get the word out that we’re coming into our own.
If you’d like to read a longer, more in depth assessment of what’s happening in Mankato, the Twin Cities Business Magazine had a nice piece on us recently.