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Study: Woodbury saw fourth highest growth in region

Woodbury was among the highest growing cities in the metro, according to a new report.

In its preliminary study released earlier this month, the Metropolitan Council estimates Woodbury grew by nearly 10 percent between 2010 and 2016 — the fourth highest compared to other cities in the metropolitan area.

Since 2010, Woodbury's population rose from 61,961 to 68,079, trailing Blaine by roughly 1,000 people.

Overall, the metropolitan region expanded by 191,628 people, with Minneapolis and St. Paul seeing the largest gains.

The Met Council's report said the region's growth reflects the Twin Cities' competitive and diversified economy.

Woodbury Community Development Director Dwight Picha said the region's health is vital to surrounding communities, including Woodbury.

"We want the whole region to be successful. And to be very successful, you need your urban cores to be both residential and employment hubs," he said.

Picha added the Met Council's estimates are in line with what Woodbury city officials have observed since 2010.

Between 2010 and 2016, Woodbury city leaders approved the building of 2,759 housing units, according to the city's annual community development report.

The Met Council cites challenges for the region and urges transit-friendly development and efficient land, as well as efforts to preserve and provide clean water and affordable housing.

Woodbury has put a large focus on water preservation, amid concerns of overstraining the aquifer that provides drinking water to all of the city.

In recent years, the city has partnered with residents and businesses to help provide efficient irrigation systems, which account for a large amount of water use in the summer months.

The city's overall goal is to keep water use flat despite forecasted growth.

So far, Picha said, the results in reducing water use has been positive.

As part of the city's second development phase, Picha said the city has aimed for a 50/50 split of single- and multi-family homes.

"We're trying to provide a diverse housing stock going into the future," he said. "We want to make sure we have places to live for lots of different folks, and we have lots of different jobs and employment opportunities in Woodbury that have different needs."

The region's vacancy rates are also among the lowest in the country, according to the Met Council.

The Met Council develops their preliminary report each year and includes the seven metro counties.

The council will certify its final estimates July 15.

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