Did you hear Eden Prairie was just named “Best Minneapolis Suburb” by the real estate web site Movoto?
Second question: Have you been to Eden Prairie lately?
To anyone who’s ever lived in this epicenter of the southwest suburbs, the undisturbed fields and “Dances With Wolves’” air beyond Flying Cloud Drive held a promise of hope.
Bloomington, Burnsville, and Richfield were the collective old country, and they had failed. The EP was the beacon on the prairie that came with a guarantee that all children would be flush with Hollister gift cards and destined for partial scholarships at St. Olaf.
“Bring me your commuters, your cul-de-sacs, your school bond referendums,” the EP whispered. But somewhere in time, something changed. The whisper turned angry with one too many Caribou locations.
Today, the EP is where the soul goes to die.
In Movoto’s ranking of 37 Minneapolis suburbs, the southwestern boomtown emerged as this year’s titleholder, scratching out a win over second place Chanhassen. Perpetual heavyweights Edina and Minnetonka finished third and fourth respectively. A place called “Victoria” rounded out the top ten.
Isn’t Victoria in South Dakota?
Noting its high graduation rates, miles of recreational trails, and heavy influence on the Twin Cities’ economy, writer Spencer McKee described the EP as “the perfect place” and a ‘burb that’s “truly got it all.”
Here's what a day is like when you have it all:
After a Saturday morning putting down turf builder and extinguishing the fire that is your teenager getting bullied again at Eden Prairie High, you hop in your Chrysler minivan with the 4.2 members of your Caucasian tribe.
You drive and wait. Drive. Wait. Wait. Then wait just a little longer as you lurch your way through untold traffic lights to the EP's highest culinary achievement: Ruby Tuesdays.
On the way home in the suburb that “delivers that city feel without losing the laid back characteristics of small town life,” you swerve around the three-car crash in front of Costco before making your way onto Mitchell Road, where a still-writhing doe is taking her last gasp after getting hit by a cement mixer.
Back at the house that’s value continues to go south due to that low-income apartment complex a block away, the mail has arrived. There’s a letter from the city. That neighbor from three doors down has bitched again about your snowmobile trailer parked on the street.
Your wife chirps from the bathroom. “You didn’t forget about the fantasy football couples’ draft at the Schwartz’s tonight, did you?” she asks, knowing full well that you did. Sweet, because it’s so convenient to get to Coon Rapids.
Living in heaven has its drawbacks: Everything is no less than 20 minutes away. Your plan to watch a Rachel McAdams’ marathon on Lifetime is scotched.
It’s been a solid run, but the EP’s 15 minutes are now at 13 and change. The city teeters on the brink of becoming an inner ring suburb. Delano Tigers here we come.
On its best days, the EP remains an Edina and Minnetonka wannabe. Or Roseville with a better mall. Or Fridley in drag.
On your morning commute along 494 east, look left and right after passing 35W. You’ll see the future on both sides.
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