From a $21 million plan for the Bielenberg Sports Center to presiding over a duck vs. rooster election at a local preschool, Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens went over some of the highlights during her second year leading the city at a recent Woodbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Stephens gave the 2012 State of the City address in front of dozens of local business leaders at the Eagle Valley Golf Course clubhouse on Friday, Nov. 30.
She talked about the city’s resiliency in the housing market, plans for 6,000 new homes and a walkable urban village, the strength of Woodbury’s job market… and the recent Money Magazine recognition.
“We did not achieve this by accident,” the mayor said.
The city has reached out to its business community through 23 meetings, Stephens said. (Visibility regarding signage was one theme that emerged.)
She pointed to a Business Journal ranking that had six Woodbury businesses listed as “Best Places to Work” and two among the 50 fastest-growing businesses in the state. (Find the list on the mayor’s presentation.)
Stephens also mentioned the city’s 160-plus health care businesses.
“It’s still growing,” she said.
The city’s involvement with Greater MSP will help expand Woodbury’s visibility beyond the Midwest and bolster its leadership role as one of the 10 largest cities in Minnesota, Stephens said.
Also, during the downturn in the economy the city clarified its policies and ordinances to make them more consistent and predictable.
Demand is up and foreclosures are down, Stephens said, and the first development application for Phase 2A has been submitted.
Woodbury recently opened up a portion of Phase 2 for development.
The city’s housing inventory is low, Stephens said, and other real estate indicators are strong. Woodbury is also moving forward with plans for a new urban village at the southwest corner of Radio Drive and Bailey Road.
Bielenberg Sports Center
Woodbury is planning to replace the aging dome at the Bielenberg Sports Center with a permanent structure along with a refrigerated outdoor rink and new two-story lobby at a cost of about $21.8 million.
The vision, Stephens said, is to create a facility that will “serve the entire community.”
“Thinking outside the bubble,” she said.
Two interesting notes on the project:
- Equipment for Bielenberg is currently shuttled back and forth from the Public Works Department. A new substation is being built for house the equipment.
- Stephens said she was told that the work will mark the largest steel structure project in the state in 2013.
The latest numbers put Woodbury’s unemployment at 4.6 percent, below the metro average and well below the national figure, Stephens said. (Washington County’s is at 5.1 percent.)
Education and health care are growing fields in Woodbury, which has a quarter of all jobs in the county, she said.
Also, as of the fourth quarter of 2011, Woodbury is No. 1 among the state’s 15 largest cities in total job creation. It’s No. 1 in percentage growth versus population, as well.
Woodbury will see no rate increases in 2013, though there could be a slight increase on the average value home. The council will likely finalize the budget this month.
Stephens said the cost of city services on the average value home is $78 per month.
The mayor ended her presentation with nod to Woodbury’s volunteers and community partners, and spoke of the city’s “sincerity of heart.”
“We’re ready to thrive in 2013 and beyond,” Stephens said.
Editor's note: Find the mayor's presentation online.