HJ/EDHerald Journal / Enterprise Dispatch, Oct. 31, 2005

New West Metro Maps book helps find places to go

By Lynda Jensen

Throughout a year of everyday life, area residents may need to find a number of places they aren’t familiar with:

• a Little League game in Annandale

• a funeral in Norwood Young America

• a lake where the fish are biting

• where to renew your driver’s license

The possibilities go on and on. These types of questions are now answered by West Metro Maps and Guide, compiled and recently published by Herald Journal.

The guide has more than 100 pages of large scale, full-color maps that contain many such details of 38 cities, towns, and townships inside the Wright, McLeod, and Carver county area, plus a few other selected nearby cities.

Unlike other maps on the market, the West Metro Maps and Guide contains churches, schools, government offices, and many other key components of a community, not just streets.

In fact, it identifies locations of virtually all “public” places in each community and township.

“Public” in this case means that many people may have a reason to go there, not that it is government-owned property.

Certain private businesses have been included because of the type of functions they hold – for example, funeral homes and ballrooms host events that people from other areas will need to find.

Organizations such as Legion post that have a building of their own have also been included.

“It is our intent that new people in the community can find what they need,” commented publisher Chris Schultz.

With all the housing developments, new residents will benefit in being able to find places they need to know about in their new towns.

On the other hand, long-time residents still need to go to places in other communities they aren’t always familiar with.

“With the huge amount of cross-traffic between communities, it’s also a great help to long-time residents who need to find a specific place in a community 15 or 20 miles away,” he added.

Besides the three-county area of Wright, Carver, and McLeod, the book also includes the cities of St. Bonifacius, Minnetrista, Mound, Dassel, Litchfield, and Green Isle.

For example, St. Boni and Green Isle have teams in the Crow River Valley baseball league, while Litchfield is a member of the Wright County high school athletic conference. They were included because of fans from other teams going to those cities.

“We added the cities outside the county that seemed to make sense,” Schultz said.

This swathe of area can easily serve a population that tends to travel in every day life – as people work, worship and enjoy recreation across many different towns, Schultz said.

The project took more than a year to compile. Staff members and independent contractors personally visited every community to find the locations, and later another individual returned to verify accuracy of each map.

Each map was recreated in full-color detail by Heidi Roberts of the Herald Journal staff and LuAnn Drazkowski of Hutchinson, a previous staff member who worked on an independent basis for this project.

“I’m not originally from this area,” Roberts said. “I could see the huge value in this book.”

The most intricate town for her to map was Hutchinson, Roberts said. “There are a lot of churches, schools, and parks there,” she said. The most simple map for her was New Germany.

To support the project further, a limited number of businesses were allowed to purchase advertising spots in the book, and in return, their locations are also identified on the maps.

Some spots are still available for the next edition. Plans are to update the book at least every two years, possibly annually.

Each book is just $18.95, plus sales tax, and if mailed, a shipping/handling charge.

You can pick up a book at the Herald Journal office; order by phone at metro (320) 485-2535 or toll-free 800-567-8303, or online at www.WestMetroMaps.com.

Several convenience stores around the area will be carrying the map books as well.

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