Mankato one of 144 cities that could lose metro area status

Updated: Mar. 8, 2021 at 6:42 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Mankato is one of the 144 U.S. cities the federal government proposes to downgrade from a metropolitan to a micropolitan status.

This raises concerns among city officials on the impact the switch would have on federal funding and economic development.

“It would eliminate our MSA (metropolitan statistical area) from critical databases that are used by site selectors who are working on behalf of companies for expansion locations.,” Greater Mankato Growth President and CEO Jessica Beyer said. “It would also impact how our region’s economic alliance is able to market our region and how we can directly provide critical business information to prospects. So really this could result in our region not being considered for millions of dollars for investment.”

Mankato Community Development Director Paul Vogel says it would also remove Mankato as an entitlement community, which would take away the $400,000 per year the city receives for programs that benefit moderate to low income residents.

“We use this funding for residential rehabilitation in targeted neighborhoods and to leverage affordable housing construction. We also use it to support local services such as the food shelf and transportation for seniors,” explained Vogel.

The proposal requires at least 100,000 people in its city to be counted as a metropolitan area, instead of the 50,000 threshold in place for the past 70 years.

But Vogel says the proposal is not taking into account the surrounding communities greater Mankato serves.

“Our service area stretches out all the way to northern Iowa and eastward towards [Interstate] 35 and westward almost to the South Dakota border, and there’s over 280,000 people within that service area.”

Federal statisticians say the change is based on how the U.S. population has more than doubled since 1950.

City officials plan to submit comments to the Office of Management and Budget and reach out to the state legislature on the matter.

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