The former river rat outlier that hugs the Minnesota River about 15 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis has officially blossomed into a suburban swan.
According to a recent report by research analyst Jake Hill, the 16.5-square miles of earth and water represents the Twin Cities' fastest growing suburb.
"Over the past 20 years, Savage has transformed from a small city of less than 4,000 people to a vibrant suburb of over 30,000 residents," writes Hill, who used statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The huge growth, he notes, has taken place in two phases. Between 2000 and 2010, the locale's population exploded by 30 percent. Over the last six years, the number of people who call Savage home has increased by almost 15 percent.
But Savage isn't just about quantity of people. It's about the people who are well-to-do. According to Hill's report, the city's median household income is nearly $95,000.
"I don't know if Savage is where the beautiful people live, but I will say it's where nice people live," says city spokesperson Emily Gunderson, who's lived there for the past 28 years. "I like to call Savage the best kept secret between Shakopee and Burnsville."
The boom town has been greased by 1996's construction of the Highway 169 Ferry Bridge across the Minnesota River, easing access to a promised land of cheap real estate begging for cul-de-sacs, two-car garages, and settlers.
There's three solid school districts to choose from, 23 parks, and one lazy river that serves as the city's northern border. Savage is home to Eagle Creek, "one of the last remaining self-producing brown trout populations" in the metro. It's also in the burg where you'll find boiling springs and the Savage Fen Wetland, 441 acres containing one of the rarest ecosystems in the country.
Living in Savage, it's called winning.
Savage is also where Dan Patch, one of the most famous racehorses in American history lived. It was home to one of World War II's largest ship-building factories, the Meadowland Shipyard. It too once housed Camp Savage. Established in 1942, Camp Savage was where American military personnel learned Japanese.
Which all leads Hill to conclude that Savagers boast "a sense of pride unrivaled by any suburb in the Twin Cities metro."
"I'd say that's true," Gunderson says. "Living here, there really is no need to cross the river."
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