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is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota in Hennepin County, and the third core city of the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA. Located on the north bank of the Minnesota River above its confluence with the Mississippi River, Bloomington lies at the heart of the southern metro area, 10 miles (16 km) south of downtown Minneapolis. The city's population was 85,172 in the 2000 Census and was estimated at 80,869 in 2006.
Established as a post-World War II housing boom suburb connected to the urban street grid of Minneapolis and serviced by two major highways, Interstate 35W and Interstate 494, Bloomington's residential areas include upper-tier households in the western Bush Lake area and traditional middle-class families in its rows of single-family homes in the central to eastern portions. Large-scale commercial development is concentrated along the Interstate 494 corridor. Besides an extensive park system, with over 1,000 square feet (93 m2) of parkland per capita, the city's south border with the Minnesota River is buffered by the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Bloomington, considered by many to be a bedroom community, has more jobs per capita than either Minneapolis or St. Paul. Its economy includes headquarters of major companies such as Ceridian, Donaldson Company Inc., HealthPartners and Toro. The city is a hospitality and retail magnet, recognized nationally for the United States' largest enclosed shopping center, Mall of America. It is presently the only suburb in the metro to be serviced by a light rail line.
Early settlers named the city after Bloomington, Illinois.
In 1839, with renewed conflict with the Ojibwa nation, Chief Cloud Man relocated his band of the Mdewakanton Dakota from Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis to an area called Oak Grove in southern Bloomington, close to present-day Portland Avenue. In 1843, Peter and Louisa Quinn, the first European settlers to live in Bloomington, built a cabin along the Minnesota River in this area. The government had sent them to teach farming methods to the Native Americans. Gideon Pond, a missionary, who had been following and recording the Dakota language from Cloud Man's band, relocated later that year, establishing Oak Grove Mission, his log cabin. Pond and his family held church services and taught the local Dakota school subjects and farming. Passage across the Minnesota River in Bloomington came in 1849 when William Chambers and Joseph Dean opened the Bloomington Ferry. The ferry remained operational until 1889, when the Bloomington Ferry Bridge was built.
Following the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux in 1851, the territory west of the Mississippi, including Bloomington, was opened to settlers. A group of pioneers settled Bloomington, including the Goodrich, Whalon, and Ames families. They named the area Bloomington after the city they were from, Bloomington, Illinois, which means "flowering field." Most early jobs were in farming, blacksmithing, and flour milling. The Oxborough family, who came from Canada, built a trading center on Lyndale Avenue and called it Oxborough-Heath. Today, the Cloverleaf Shopping Center rests on the old trading center site and the nearby Oxboro Clinic is named after them. The Baliff family opened a grocery and general store at what is today Penn Avenue and Old Shakopee Road, and Hector Chadwick, after moving to the settlement, opened a blacksmith shop near the Bloomington Ferry. In 1855, the first public school for all children was opened in Miss Harrison’s house with the first school, Gibson House, built in 1859. On May 11, 1858, the day the state of Minnesota was admitted into the union and officially became a state, 25 residents incorporated the Town of Bloomington. By 1880, the population had grown to 820. In 1892 the first town hall was built at Penn and Old Shakopee Road. By then, the closest Dakota to Minneapolis lived at the residence of Gideon Pond.
1900s to 1930s
After 1900, the population surpassed a thousand and Bloomington began to transform into a city. With rising population came conflict among citizens over social issues. Among the major issues during this period were parents' unwillingness to dissolve the individual schools for a larger, consolidated school, and the fear of mounting taxes. By 1900 there were already six rural schools spread throughout the territory with over 200 students enrolled in grades first through eighth. By 1917, the school consolidation issue had been settled. That year voters approved the consolidation of the schools and a year later secondary education and school bus transportation began throughout the city. Telephone service and automobiles appeared.
1940s to 1950s
During the twenty years from 1940 to 1960, the city's population increased to nine times that of the population at the turn of the century. During the 1940s the city's development vision was low-cost, low-density housing, each with its own well and septic system. The rapid growth in population was in part due to the post-World War II boom and subsequent birth of the baby boomer generation. In 1947 the first fire station was constructed and equipped at a cost of $24,000 and the Bloomington Volunteer Fire Department was established with 25 members.
The 1950s saw a considerable expansion of the city and its infrastructure, with the city shifting away from its small-town atmosphere and feel. In 1950, because of the increasing population, the first elementary school, Cedarcrest, was built. It was evident that one consolidated school could no longer serve the growing population, and ten new schools would be built in this decade as the school system expanded to meet the needs of the citizens. In 1952 the first large business, Toro Manufacturing Company, moved to Bloomington. The significance of this can be seen in Bloomington today, which is home to hundreds of businesses of all types.
In 1953, Bloomington changed from a township to a village form of government. This more professional approach to government was accompanied by open council meetings, land use plans, and published budgets. The effects of this new form of government began immediately, first with the formation of the city police department (at a cost of $2 per taxpayer) and secondly with the first park land acquisition. Both Bush Lake Beach and Moir Park were established at a cost of one dollar to each residence. Today, about half of the city's land area is devoted to city and regional parks, playgrounds, and open space. In 1956 the first city land-use plan was initiated with the construction of Interstate 35W and Metropolitan Stadium.
In 1958, the city changed from a village government to a council-manager form. One of the first policies adopted by the council was the encouragement of commercial and industrial development, low-cost housing, and shopping centers. Due to the rapid population increase during this time, police and fire departments changed to a 24-hour dispatching system, and the fire department (now made up of 46 members) converted a garage into the second fire station.
1960s to 1970s
The 1960s saw accelerated school and business growth throughout the city. On November 8, 1960, Bloomington officially became a city as voters approved the city's organizing document, the City Charter. The city charter provides for a Council-Manager form of government in which the city council exercises the legislative power of the city and determines all city policies (see City of Bloomington Government). In 1967, a second and third official fire station were approved and built to more effectively combat fires in the increasingly large city. In 1968, Normandale State Junior College opened with an initial enrollment of 1,358 students. In 1974 it changed to its present name, Normandale Community College, to reflect expanded courses of study.
Owned by Minneapolis but located in Bloomington, major league teams played at the Metropolitan Stadium
until it was demolished in 1985.
From 1961 to 1982, the city of Bloomington was home to all the major sports teams of Minnesota. In 1961, after the completion of Metropolitan Stadium in 1956, both the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings began regular-season play. Although Metropolitan Stadium was originally built for the American Association Minneapolis Millers, a minor league baseball team, Metropolitan stadium was renovated and expanded for Major League Baseball and Football. The first Twins game was held on April 21 (Washington 5, Twins 3) and the first Vikings game was held on September 17 (Vikings 37, Chicago Bears 13). In 1967, with the expansion of the National Hockey League, the Metropolitan Sports Center was built near the site of the Metropolitan Stadium and the Minnesota North Stars began play later that year.
A number of new city buildings were constructed in the 1970s. In 1970 Jefferson High School, Bloomington Ice Garden rink one, and a fourth fire station were built. In 1971, school enrollment peaked with 26,000 students, and the fire department had grown to a force of 105 men. (In 1974, after a six-hour city council meeting, women were allowed to join the Bloomington Fire Department, but the city's first female firefighter, Ann Majerus, would not join the department until 1984). In 1975 a second rink was added to the Bloomington Ice Garden and a fifth fire station built, and subsequently a sixth in 1979.
1980s to present
The 1980s brought a radical change to Bloomington with the departure of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. In 1982, the last baseball game was played at Metropolitan stadium (Kansas City Royals 5, Twins 2) as the Twins and Vikings moved to the newly constructed Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. In 1985, the Bloomington Port Authority purchased the 86-acre (350,000 m2) Met Stadium site and in less than two years approved first site plans for the Mall of America. Two years later, ground breaking took place for the new megamall, and in 1992 it was opened to the public. Today, tenants of Mall of America, when combined, constitute the largest private-sector employer in Bloomington, employing about 13,000 people. In 1993, the Minnesota North Stars hockey team moved to Dallas, and a year later the Metropolitan Sports Center was demolished. In 2004, an IKEA store opened on the west end of the former Met Center site. The remainder of the property is planned to be the site for Mall of America Phase II. In May 2006 the Water Park of America opened, the ninth largest indoor waterpark in the United States.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 38.4 square miles (99.4 km²), of which, 35.5 square miles (91.9 km²) is land and 2.9 square miles (7.5 km²) (7.53%) water.
There are three primary land types in the city. The northeastern part of the city is a sand plain, low hills dominate the western portion of the city, and the far south lies within the valley of the Minnesota River.
About one third of the city is permanently reserved for park purposes, including two large natural areas - the Minnesota Valley's wetlands (controlled by the City and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service) and the Hyland Lake Park Reserve (controlled by the Three Rivers Park District).
Water bodies within the city include Bush Lake, Long Meadow Lake, Lake Normandale, Marsh Lake (Hennepin), Nine Mile Creek, Penn Lake and about 100 small lakes and ponds with their wetland habitats.
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Locally, the city is divided by Interstate 35W into "West Bloomington" and "East Bloomington." West Bloomington is mostly residential with newer housing stock, along with multi-story office high-rises along Interstate Highway 494 in the north, whereas East Bloomington contains more industry, destination retail centers, and the majority of Bloomington's less expensive housing. Many locals will refer to themselves as either from "East" or "West" Bloomington. The dividing line may be placed as far west as France Avenue, where the high school attendance boundaries meet.
As of the 2000 Census, there were 85,172 people, 36,400 households, and 22,768 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,400.5 people per square mile (926.9/km²). There were 37,104 housing units at an average density of 1,045.7/sq mi (403.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.12% White, 3.42% African American, 0.35% Native American, 5.09% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.25% from other races, and 1.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.69% of the population. According to the 2000 Census, 32.4% were German, 18.3% Norwegian, 12.2% Swedish, 12.9% Irish and 8.5% English.
There were 36,400 households out of which 25.1% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 51.2% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 29.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% of someone living alone who was 65 years of age and over. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.87.
Ages were spread out, with 20.6% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $54,628, and the median income for a family was $67,135. Males had a median income of $42,924 versus $32,606 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,782. About 2.3% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.2% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those aged 65 and over.
As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 82.7% of Bloomington's population; of which 80.9% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 6.6% of Bloomington's population. American Indians made up 0.3% of the city's population. Asian Americans made up 5.1% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans were non-existent in the city (0.0%). Individuals from some other race made up 3.9% of the city's population; of which 0.8% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.4% of the city's population; of which 1.3% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 5.0% of Bloomington's population.
The city is home to a large contingent of employers, providing more than 100,000 jobs. Benefiting from its location near major transportation routes and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Bloomington is a major hospitality center with about 10,000 hotel rooms.
Bloomington, Minnesota is governed by a seven-member part-time City Council. Members include the mayor and six Council members, of whom four are elected from districts and two elected at-large. Members are elected to four-year terms, except during redistricting when all district council members have a two-year term. Elections are non-partisan.
City operations are controlled by three interrelated entities: the City itself, the Port Authority, and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). The Port Authority is responsible for managing development in the Airport South district along the Minnesota River, in which the Mall of America is located. The HRA handles low-income housing in the city and manages the city's redevelopment activities. Membership on the boards of the Port Authority and HRA is controlled by the City Council.
The city's organizing document, the City Charter, was approved by voters on November 8, 1960.
- Fire Protection: Bloomington has one of the largest volunteer fire departments in the country with 150 firefighters. They provide fire protection that has resulted in a Class 3 fire rating. The department operates six fire stations and utilizes the latest in fire fighting equipment. The department has a total of 30 fire fighting vehicles including pumpers, hook and ladder and specialty units (one vehicle compact enough to navigate the Mall of America's parking ramps), all of which are equipped with Opticom System equipment, which automatically switches traffic signals to expedite emergency runs. The average response time is four minutes.
- Police Protection: Public safety is protected by Bloomington's 120 officer police force. The officers have sophisticated Ford Police Interceptor squad cars that assist them in their round-the-clock patrol: each contains a computer-assisted dispatching center that contains a computerized records system, mobile digital terminals that allow officers direct access to warrant information and state motor vehicle and driver's license records, and Opticom System equipment, which automatically switches traffic signals. The police force is also supported by six canine teams: four dual-purpose patrol dogs, a single-purpose narcotics dog, and a single-purpose explosives-detection dog assigned to the Mall of America. The police department has one of only four bomb squads in Minnesota and a highly trained 20 member SWAT team.
- Bloomington Public Health Division
- Bloomington Parks and Recreation
- Human Services: Bloomington Human Services helps to improve the lives of residents by identifying needs and problems. They provide services to youth, families, older adults, and people with disabilities.
Bloomington is located in Minnesota's 3rd congressional district, represented by Erik Paulsen, a Republican, since 2009.
Bloomington Public Schools, ISD 271 has served the K-12 education of the city since the 1960s with an operating fund revenue of $94.6 million in 2007. 15 public schools in Bloomington are operated by the district and is governed by a seven member elected school board, appointing current Superintendent Les Fujitake in 2006. The previous Superintendent Gary Prest won the Superintendent of The Year for 2005 in Minnesota. The city's first public charter school, Seven Hills Classical Academy, opened in 2006. As many families remain or continue to move into the city, there has been support for levy increases. In 1999 they approved the then largest school bond issue in Minnesota history, funding a $107 million school expansion and renovation project.
The two high schools are John F. Kennedy High School in the east and Thomas Jefferson High School in the west. The determining boundary for high school attendance runs near the center of Bloomington on France and Xerxes Avenues, though both schools have open enrollment.
Bloomington's third high school, Lincoln High School (originally Bloomington High School), was closed in 1982 and was sold to the Control Data Corporation in the mid 1980s. Bloomington Stadium, located next to the former high school, is still used by both Kennedy High School and Jefferson High School for home football, lacrosse and soccer games.
Arts and media
Comcast provides access to four Bloomington cable television stations for public, education and government (PEG) programming. They include The Bloomington Channel 14 link, a comprehensive source of Bloomington information and programming. The channel features City Council and school board meetings, a weekly news magazine show called "Bloomington Today," "Roll Call," a weekly update on public safety news produced by the Bloomington Police Department, arts events, and sports. Bloomington Educational Cable Television (BEC-TV) highlights educational and school-based programs from the Bloomington's public and private schools. Programming on this channel includes educational content, concerts, choir shows, graduations, and sporting events. Two student produced shows are also on BEC-TV. Tomorrow's Voices Today (TVT) is a teen news show that highlights the good things teens are doing around the city and talks about teen related issues. YRU-Up is a late night call-in talk show. Skits for the show are produced by students and the show is live every Friday night (Sat. Morning) at 12:30am on TBC (Channel 14). A third channel, BCAT, (Bloomington Cable Access Television) is a public access channel that allows individuals and organizations to learn video production and create television shows. The schedules for these channels can be found on a channel called the B.R.A.I.N. The cable access channels are funded by cable franchise fees collected in the city.
The Coen brothers film A Serious Man was filmed on location in Bloomington because of the 1960's original-looking suburban Ranch-style houses which are still prevalent there.
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