By Kristen Miller
COKATO, DASSEL, MN This past December, it was announced that Cokato was named the best place to raise kids in Minnesota by Bloomberg Businessweek. Dassel was runner-up.
Over the next couple of weeks, the Enterprise Dispatch will highlight several of the reasons why these two towns were chosen, and the qualities that would attract others to the area.
The recognition was a part of an overall survey done by Businessweek.com of the best towns, villages, and small cities in the US to raise children. The focus was populations larger than the median for the state, but no greater than 50,000.
For its fifth year of ranking America’s best places to raise kids, Bloomberg used data from Onboard Informatics, a real estate data company based out of New York that specializes in residential demographic and lifestyle information.
According to the December article, Bloomberg looked at 5,418 places in the US, emphasizing “a community’s number of schools, school performance, cost of living, and crime statistics.” It also considered factors including job growth, ethnic diversity, and air quality, as well as access to county parks, theaters, and other recreational facilities.
With the focus being on middle-income communities, Bloomberg also took in consideration only those where the median income was within 20 percent of the state’s median income.
Taking in all the factors, Cokato was chosen as the best place in Minnesota to raise children, and Dassel was named runner-up.
Cokato, with a population of 2,810 and a median income of $66,473, was noted by Bloomberg as standing “a step above most small towns” with a country club, library, and award-winning schools.
“More than an hour from Minneapolis, Cokato shares many amenities with nearby (and runner-up) Dassel, including school and a performing arts center,” wrote Vanessa Wong, author of the Bloomberg article. “Cokato also boasts a museum and photography studio built in 1905, that is on the National Register of Historic Places.”
With the article stating that “schools are the paramount concern for many young families,” the first article in the series will highlight the Dassel-Cokato School District and the qualities that have given it its good reputation.
Along with the series of articles, the Enterprise Dispatch will be asking residents a revised “ED Wants to Know. . . ” “Minnesota Wants to Know, What Makes Cokato and Dassel, the Best Place in Minnesota to Raise Kids?”