For years, Mayor Janet Williams has called Savage the "best kept secret" south of the Minnesota River. The secret is out. This week, CNN's Money magazine named Savage one of the 100 best places to live in America.
The city was number 51 on the list. The pool of competitors is rather large: On a whole there are about 19,000 municipal governments in the U.S. according to the National League of Cities. There are 643 in Savage's population range, from 25,000 to 50,000.
The magazine praised Savage real estate, calling the city a bastion of "reasonably priced homes" where a first-time buyer can find a three-bedroom for $185,000 and $210,000. Savage also got high marks for its "quaint Main Street area," and recreational infrastructure.
It's quite an honor for the city, which claimed just a couple hundred residents when Williams was a child. Over the past two to three decades, the city's population increased rapidly, burgeoning to 28,000 by the 2010 census. However, Savage has retained much of its rural charm and natural beauty. In fact, City Administrator Barry Stock said 37 percent of the city's land area is green space — parks, wetlands and nature preserves.
"I'm excited. We like that kind of positive publicity," Williams said.
Both Williams and Stock said the city government has worked hard to make Savage an appealing place to live, particularly over the last ten years. During the last decade, the Savage City Council has made a concerted effort to revive and beautify its downtown. The city also succeeded in building a thriving business park.
"We're very pleased and proud to have made the list," Stock said.
Other cities in Minnesota made the cut as well. Nearby Chanhassen was named number 10. Shoreview, Arden Hills and Lino Lakes also appeared in the top 75.