With around 9600 residents, the city of Arden Hills is relatively small compared to its immediate neighbors. New Brighton contains approximately 21,000 individuals, Shoreview nearly 25,000, and to the south, commercial hub Roseville holds almost 34,000 citizens. But recently, intrests within the city and outside have been moving to put the suburb on the map as one of the leading cities of the state of Minnesota.
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Arden Hills has the opportunity to go supernova.
As a lifelong resident, one may say I have an editorial bias to my hometown. But that one would also have to admit that Arden Hills is a neat little hamlet. The city holds scenic water sources (Round Lake, Lake Johanna, the semi-secluded Karth Lake), numerous biking and walking trails, and top-ranked educational facilities (Mounds View High School and Northwestern College). Arden Hills already has decent development and infrastructure. Now, in 2012, for whatever reason, business, housing, and sports interests have decided that Arden Hills is the “Meadows” of southern Nevada and its 1930 all over again. With a little work, this city could be the next Las Vegas!
Okay, maybe not that much flair.
Still, it is undeniable that Arden Hills is undergoing massive changes that could have the city looking very different come 2020, compared to just over a year ago, when the 2010 census was finalized.
Long on the drawing boards, massive construction is underway at the Hamline/Snelling Ave and Hwy 694 exchange near the south side of town. For many years, traffic has been choked in morning and evening rush hour between Lexington Ave and Highway 35-W near New Brighton. Highway 694 is a main artery for traffic traveling through the north suburbs and a favorite route for Arden Hills residents looking to head to either of the Twin Cities. With expanded lanes, traffic will be much safer and more streamlined in this network. And I can’t neglect to mention that there will finally be an on-ramp onto eastbound 694 from northbound Snelling. (In the past, drivers had to U-turn on a side road onto southbound Snelling to attain the eastbound 694 highway. In addition, drivers coming from residential Arden Hills on southbound Hamline Ave could not reach westbound 694 directly through the interchange. Essentially, for decades, this Hwy 694-Hamline/Snelling Ave was half an interchange, therfore only 50% effective to routing traffic)
Perhaps the most well-known construction project is one that hasn’t officially occured. The Minnesota Vikings have expressed interest in building a stadium in Arden Hills, specifically at the old army ammunition super-site. In actuality, modification and development of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site has been talked about in seriousness since the middle part of last decade. The site definetly needs to be de-contaminated and developed. And with the major football team of Minnesota knocking and willing to enter, Arden Hills has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for major bragging rights, money, and sports pride. Obviously, there are big issues that need to first be addressed, but I think many a fan would rather not let Los Angeles capture another one of our professional sports teams. So why not the city of Hills that blink Arden?
Coincidentally, not far from the proposed stadium site, straddling Hwy 96, residential housing is under development (Specifically between Hwy 96, old Snelling Ave, and Royal Hills Drive). Based on the size and number of houses under construction, dozens if not hundreds of new residents may be added to the city in coming years. If the stadium, or some other large commercial enterprise is constructed on the TCAPP site, this wedge of housing may become prime real-estate.
Right around Lexington Ave and County Road E, business development is underway on a new Walgreen’s for the Arden Plaza, a popular area strip mall. Due to construction, this particular area right now is getting alot of play, due to construction diverting newfound traffic onto County Road E and Lexington Ave, major city thouroughfares. It can also be predicted that more businesses, particularily restaraunts, may be enticed to the areas ringing these and other city thoroughfares once the major construction is complete.
With these elements, one can assume that within a decade, lots of business profits could be flowing into Arden Hills, which in turn, could be turned around for inter-city development. The city has a huge chance to flourish, if developed and taken care of effectively. At the very least, Arden Hills will modernize by upgrading its transportation infrastructure and adding residential housing. The Rose City, The Big Apple, The Second City, and Mile-High City, beware: a new municipal powerhouse may be on the way, and its name is Arden Hills!