Fifty years ago, when Bloomington, Minnesota became an NLC member, the city was in the midst of a population explosion. This community, mostly agricultural just 10 years earlier, was adding homes for returning WWII veterans, schools for their children and retail.
Today, residents and visitors alike enjoy the many amenities Bloomington has to offer such as the Mall of America, which welcomes, on average, 100,000 visitors each day, 9,000 acres devoted to parks and open space, accumulated as part of a city park dedication program as well as a regional park reserve and U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, one of only a handful of urban wildlife refuges in the United States. Housing, jobs, great public schools and community events such as the well-attended farmers market make Bloomington among the best places to live and visit in Minnesota.
"We are proud of our safe and welcoming neighborhoods, our residents who work together to promote a vital community and businesses that define our prosperity," said Mayor Gene Winstead. "We are committed to the continual building and renewal of this community by redeveloping commercial areas and residential neighborhoods, and by improving our transportation system."
As the metro area's third largest city, Bloomington is conveniently located near key transportation links, including two interstates, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Light rail transit has four stations in Bloomington, providing an easy way for visitors to access the city's attractions from the airport or downtown Minneapolis.
Hospitality is Bloomington's number one industry, employing nearly 8,300 people in lodging and food service jobs and almost 1,300 jobs in arts and recreation. Bloomington has more than 8,000 hotel rooms - the largest hospitality center in Minnesota. The Radisson Blu hotel, currently being built at the Mall of America, will be the first hotel physically connected to the Mall and will create an additional 240 hospitality-related jobs and add 500 more hotel rooms.
Bloomington ranks with an elite few cities nationwide that hold three triple-A bond ratings from Moody's, Standard & Poor's and from Fitch Ratings. The City's excellent bond ratings are a signal to current and potential investors that its financial future is strong in part due to its multi-year modeling and downturn strategies. It also sends a message to businesses and individuals that Bloomington is a financially sustainable community.
To learn more about what Bloomington has to offer, visit the City's website, www.ci.bloomington.mn.us or become a fan of the City on Facebook at www.facebook.com/blm.mn.
During its membership, Bloomington has been active in NLC, learning about current trends, new service delivery ideas and best practices from counterparts across the country. Bloomington city council members have served on NLC policy committees and have been active in leadership roles, including Steve Peterson who recently served as Information Technology and Communications Steering Committee Chair. Bloomington values its NLC membership because the conferences and publications are an important education resource that goes beyond immediate peer groups in the city and region. It's hard to compete globally and strive to be a world class city if you don't know in detail what's happening in other locations.