Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Ode to Apple Valley

As we get older, some of us love to wax philosophically about our high school or college years.

I went to Cretin High School and am darn proud of that. My wife, Sharon, was born and raised on a farm in Wabasha, Minnesota and went to Wabasha High School. She also is proud of her upbringing and high school. But education aside, I’ve found that it’s where we raised our kids that now bring us the most satisfaction over the past forty plus years.

Aside from the normal warts and blemishes, seen and unseen, that any city has accumulated over the years, Apple Valley is still one of the best places to live and raise kids in the Twin Cities, bar none.

When Sharon and I moved back here in 1977, our son, Brian was 8 months old and Melanie hadn’t been born yet. We bought an Orin Thomas rambler, model 60 with one previous owner, for $59,900 and hoped we could make the payments on a one salary income. We did and have been here in the same house ever since.

Like the city itself, our house has evolved and changed and adapted to the times and ever-present aging process. But more importantly, our neighborhood has remained a solid community for new families and established ones alike. Some couples like ourselves have been here for years and have no intention of moving.

The older neighborhoods have remained attractive with their large yards, mature trees and rolling terrain. Newer neighborhoods have fallen into a pattern of conformity but still offer a variety of housing options. None of those adaptations happened without planning and foresight. It was a small group of visionaries back in the 60s and 70s that laid the groundwork and foundation for the kind of community we live in today.

Some of those early administrators like Will Branning and Mike Garrison still reside here. The city has had a long line of focused, dedicated department managers. And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. In this case, it’s in a host of attractions right in our own backyard.

There are pocket parks scattered throughout the city. An award-winning golf course, an aquatic center, District #196 schools, proximity to the Minnesota Zoo, a variety of housing options for new families and seniors alike and the list can go on and on.

In the early to mid-eighties, I spent five years on the Apple Valley Planning Commission. I also created three cable television series for the city in the late 90s. ‘Police Beat’ covered activities of the Apple Valley Police Department. ‘Hook and Ladder’ covered the AV Fire Department and ‘Apple Valley Today’ was a cable magazine covering events in and around the city.

Writing, producing and editing those cable series brought me into close proximity with the various city department heads and gave me a greater appreciation for the true dedication of those men and women managing our city.

Both Brian and Melanie have done well in District #196, garnering a well-rounded education that has led to better things for both of them.

Sharon has been an active member of the Apple Valley Rotary for over 25 years. Over the last couple of years, she and her fellow Rotarians have been collecting books for disadvantaged kids in the District. Two years ago, they collected over 15,000 books for students who didn’t have easy access to books or books at home. That kind of social engagement is part and parcel for a lot of the social clubs in town.

Whether you were born and raised here, had children who attended school here or are new to the community, Apple Valley is a good place to live. The city fathers ‘got it right’ a long time ago and we are all enjoying the fruit of their foresight today.


Unknown said...

While it's a great Ode to Apple Valley you've written, a community I watched grow as a kid after WW2, I hope your high school name was not in French.

Unknown said...

There have been a few hick-ups along the way, but overall, a good place to raise a family.

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