Located 30 miles west of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Waconia is a semi-rural but growing exurban community. Home to around 10,700 people, Waconia has experienced dramatic population growth in the last 10 years. Between 2000 and 2010, its population grew 57 percent. Waconia gets its namesake from beautiful Lake Waconia, on the banks of which the city proudly sits. This small city is also a family-friendly community, as 70.3 percent of Waconia households are comprised of families.
Waconia's history is marked by struggle. The area's first European settlers arrived from Germany in 1857 and began establishing a community based on a monetary relationship with the local Native Americans. In 1862, a lean harvest and the onslaught of the Civil War meant tough times for poor settlers and Native Americans alike. The "Sioux Uprising" began in the area, leading to conflict among what had previously been cooperating groups. Many European settlers fled to what is now called Coney Island, while others remained locked in battle. The Dakota and the European settlers both sustained losses, and by the end of the fight the Dakota were forced to leave the area. As peace returned to the country, Waconia began to grow.
Until recently, Waconia has been a small town on the fringes of the Twin Cities area, but as the metropolitan area population has increased, suburbanization has come to Waconia. Those searching for Waconia apartments for rent will delight in the area's small-town feel.
Waconia residents enjoy many traditional Minnesota pastimes, especially water and ice sports. Lake Waconia offers residents the chance to fish, skate, play hockey and swim, making the area a kid-friendly and fun place to call home. The lake is the second largest in the Twin Cities metro area at 3,080 acres.
Residents love Waconia for its small-town vibe, which contributes to a strong sense of local community. Nickle Dickle Day, hosted by the city's chamber of commerce, is just one example of an event that contributes to residents' sense of community. Featuring more than 100 craft vendors, races, a car and tractor show, and more, kids and adults alike make fond memories at this nostalgic event.
Other community celebrations include Puddle Jumper events, composting events and numerous holiday festivities.
The nearest institute of higher learning is Normandale Community College, which is located 23 miles away in Bloomington. Numerous schools are also located 30 miles from Waconia in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Although Waconia primarily exists as a bedroom community, it is located in Carver County, which offers a variety of employment opportunities. The county consists of many small towns and growing exurbs similar to Waconia. The county's top employers are Emerson Process/Rosemount, Ridgeview Medical Center, Chaska School District no. 112, FSI International, Carver County, Fluoroware, Lake Region Manufacturing Co. and General Mills.
Waconia's cost of living index is 113.2, which is 13.2 percent higher than the national average. Those searching for Waconia rentals will want to know that about 23 percent of homes in Waconia are renter-occupied, creating a good balance of rental and owned properties. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median gross rent in the city was just $674 in 2010.
Visitors flock to Lake Waconia Regional Park, where they can cast a line or sunbathe during warm summer months. Waconia also boasts two marina launches for boat enthusiasts: In-Towne Marina and Lola's Lakehouse.
History buffs enjoy the Carver County Historical Society Museum. Featuring exhibits such as Veterans' Exhibit, Immigrant Experience, Toolin' Around Carver County and Days Gone By: Childhood in the 19th Century, this museum offers something to do during the long Minnesota winter.
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