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For example, the Residence at the COR, a 230-unit apartment complex that connects to the Ramsey rail station via skyway, opened in September.
That’s just the beginning, Starling said. “To date, the region has only scratched the surface of the long-term development potential along the Northstar Line.”
On a broader level, people are looking for “good accessibility, transportation at work, proximity to central locations and a range of job opportunities,” she said.
But Sivarajah disagrees with the council’s conclusions about transit spurring growth. “I don’t know that transit necessarily plays a role in determining where people decide to live,” she said.
“We’re not seeing great growth and development around the Northstar Line, except for instances where a development has been highly subsidized by a city. I don’t believe it’s driving the growth,” she said.
Blaine is seeing plenty of growth, even though “it doesn’t have a great deal of transit,” she said.
“It’s about the quality of life, the tax burden, making sure we’re looking at good quality schools. Those things are what play into people’s decisionmaking,” she said.
In her view, people are attracted to the county because of its diversity. “The southern part is very urban. The middle is very suburban and as you go farther out, it’s very rural,” she said. “Anoka County has something for everybody.”
The Met Council also predicts that the number of residents 65 and older in the region will go up dramatically. That’s a trend that the county is already seeing, Sivarajah said.
To address that, the county recently restructured its social services to better serve seniors, Sivarajah said. The county also has directed more dollars to the Anoka County Community Action Program’s senior outreach and its information and referral line for older citizens, she said.
The idea is to keep seniors close to their families, friends and other support systems, she said.
Anna Pratt is a Minneapolis freelance writer.