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Report card reveals status of Red Wing

A new report may have some answers to questions about living in Red Wing, whether they be about median rent prices or poverty levels. However, the report encourages community members to start asking questions instead.

From demographics to the status of the local economy, the Red Wing Report Card has begun to identify current trends in the city. The project was recently released as part of Red Wing 2040, a 20-year plan for the city's development from community members. With five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, 10 action teams analyzed the numbers and discovered the most recent status of Red Wing.

"The quality of life in Red Wing is dependent on all these things. This report card shows all these," said Michelle Leise, the city's new community engagement specialist.

Ups and downs

Starting with demographics, Red Wing reported a population of 16,445 people in 2015. From this, more than 1 in 10 is a person of color and 1 in 5 children in the school district is a student of color. Age trends indicate that by 2040, Minnesota's 65-plus population is expected to double. From 2011-2014 census date, 20 percent of the Red Wing population is 65 or older.

Throughout the report card is census data reflecting a list of items, including; the economy, public safety, housing, transportation, parks and land use, physical and mental health, lifelong learning, community connections and accessible government, environmental resiliency and arts and culture.

 Decennial Census, American Community Survey

The report card is Part 1 of the work behind the 10 action teams with the Community Voices Task Force. Part 2 includes listening to residents with a variety of items such as the community survey, Hispanic survey and focused questions, which will run until the end of winter 2018. Part 3 is a speaker series that starts this fall and Part 4 is creating the community vision and action plans, with an anticipated completion date of fall 2018.

When unveiling the report card, Leise noted that community members were taken aback with the economy results. One statistic identifies Red Wing's median household income a little above $60,000 in 1999, resting slightly above the U.S. average. In 2015, that number was about $45,000 while the U.S. median was close $55,000. This number could be linked to other areas within the report card, she said.

"It's important to note that some statistics are older," Leise said. "We're doing more research right now into the the 'why' behind the results."

It's not all bad news, either. A few highlights include infrastructure and walkability improvements, with projects completed such as Highway 61 reconstruction, Levee Road, Twin Bluff Middle School and Sunnyside Elementary School projects. Bus ridership jumped 72 percent from 2005 to 2016 and unemployments rates have dropped since 2010, resting at about 4 percent.

The Red Wing Report Card was funded by the city, Live Healthy Red Wing and Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota. For those who would like to get involved or would like their own copy of the Red Wing Report Card, contact Leise at 651-385-3618 or A digital copy of the report card can be found by visit and clicking on "Red Wing 2040 Community Plan" on the right.

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in Aug. 2016, covering government, transportation and public safety. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism and philosophy. 

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