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Biz folks like Woodbury

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business Woodbury, 55125

Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

Whether it's the community's relatively close proximity to the airport and major freeways or its large base of residential development, businesses are pretty happy with their location in Woodbury, according to a business survey recently published by the city.

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The city conducts its "Business Outreach Survey" every two years, and although response is typically low, the results are still helpful, said Janelle Schmitz, Woodbury planning and economic development manager.

"It's kind of a gauge we use to measure the business climate out there, but it's also a tool for us to keep up good communications with the business community," Schmitz said.

Almost half of the businesses responding to the survey came from the healthcare sector, which Schmitz said the city has had a focus on as of late.

"Healthcare has been one of our target areas, especially with our medical campus district study that we've been doing," she said, referring to the area near Woodwinds Hospital the city council directed the city to rezone last year for medical-related commercial development.

The community received all-around high marks from participating businesses in a variety of areas including environmental quality, proximity to suppliers and freeways and accessibility to a major airport.

Businesses did give a below average rating to availability and cost of land in the city.

More than 75 percent of respondents said Woodbury is a good location for their customers and nearly 60 percent said they are considering expanding their current location.

The survey also revealed that most current businesses would like to see more manufacturing business in town, a hope that most likely won't be fulfilled due to market conditions, Schmitz said,

"Adding manufacturing obviously adds to the tax base, which businesses like, but we don't have a large manufacturing base as it is," she said. "the ones we do have we want to keep here and keep them healthy."

Fifty-nine percent of the respondents said less than 10 percent of their employees live in Woodbury, which Schmitz said indicates the importance of the city's strategy to attract more commercial office development to town.

A more statistically accurate citizens' survey the city published earlier in 2007 indicates that the city is steadily achieving its goal of making Woodbury a place to live and work, Schmitz said.

"We've been climbing in that area about two percent every time we survey," she said. "We are still maintaining that strategy, but we are finally seeing an increase in percentage of people who both live and work in the city. That's an important goal."

To view results of the 2007 business outreach survey go to www.woodbury.mn.us and click on the "economic development" link

Survey says: top reasons why local businesses rate Woodbury as a good place to be:

• Highway accessibility

• Accessibility to major airport

• Environmental quality

• Proximity to service suppliers

What services are lacking or could use improvement?

• More hotels

• Reduce taxes

• Snow removal

• Transit

• Century Ave. and I-494

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