Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens noted a number of the city’s recent accomplishments during a State of the City speech Friday.
Still, she was quick to note at the outset that “greater things are yet to come.”
“Woodbury is poised for sustained success,” Stephens said.
Woodbury, now the 10th largest city in the state, expects its population to grow to 85,000 by 2030, Stephens said. She attributed much of the city’s success to its educated workforce, proximity to the Twin Cities and strong transportation system.
The city has worked to promote itself through a marketing campaign, Stephens said, and added 542 jobs over the past year. She lauded the city’s involvement in the Greater MSP program and also touted an initiative that aims to make Woodbury a top health care destination in the state. (There are more than 125 medical-based businesses here, she said.)
City leaders have also worked to spark interest in underdeveloped properties, such as the 401 Bielenberg area and the former State Farm complex, she said.
Woodbury has streamlined its review and inspections processes, and created predictability and consistency for developers, she said.
A business-feedback initiative reflected the benefits of those efforts, Stephens said. Many reported the strengths of Woodbury’s location, workforce and client base, and the “one-stop shop” nature of the city’s retail properties, she said.
There were no overarching negatives uncovered during the meetings with 41 Woodbury businesses, she said, but there were a few concerns, primarily about the timing of Woodbury’s traffic lights, water hardness and utility issues.
The mayor also briefly discussed plans for a new urban village, Bielenberg Gardens, at the southwest intersection of Bailey Road and Radio Drive, and noted a slow in foreclosures, though home values remain in decline.
Perhaps most telling, Stephens pointed to the results of a community survey that showed 99 percent of residents rate the city as “good” or “excellent.”
Still, for all the accomplishments, Stephens joked that she couldn’t decide what her favorite moment as mayor has been so far: driving a squad car through police tape during the opening of the new Public Safety Department garage, or dressing up as buckthorn for the Woodbury Community Foundation’s Spooktakular Soiree.