Elk River, Minnesota

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Elk River is a city in Sherburne County, Minnesota, United States, about 34 miles northwest of Minneapolis. It is situated at the confluence of the Mississippi and Elk Rivers. The population was 16,447 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Sherburne County[4]. The city's population exceeded 20,000 as of 2005.[5] U.S. Highways 10 and 169 and State Highway 101 are three of the main arterial routes, and a station on the Northstar Commuter Rail line to downtown Minneapolis is located in the city.



Zebulon Pike passed through the area on his 1805 exploration of the upper Mississippi River and named the Elk River after the herds of animals he saw. The area was not settled by Europeans until David Faribault built a trading post near the confluence of the Elk and Mississippi Rivers in 1846.[6] The post was later sold to Pierre Bottineau. The site was a good location for trading not just because of the rivers, but also because of the proximity of the Red River Trail.

In 1851, Ard Godfrey, a native of Orono, Maine, saw the potential of the water power of the Elk River and built a dam and a sawmill. His dam created the first lobe of Lake Orono (called the Mill Pond), which extended from the present day dam to Orono Cemetery Point. In 1855 the area by the dam was platted and the town of Orono (know as Upper Town) was created.

In the last 18 years, the population of the city had increased from just over 11,000 in 1990 to over 23,000 today. The city council has planned for a city with about 35,000 in the next 20–30 years.

Downtown Revitalization Project

The Elk River city council finalized their plans for several major construction projects in 2005, two of which will be known as The Bluffs of Elk River and Jackson Place. The stated goals of the Downtown Revitalization Project are to enhance downtown Elk River's role as a residential, commercial and retail area, as well as to revitalize commercial interest in the downtown area. As of 2009, the project has not reached its goals. A majority of the retail and commercial space still remains vacant.[7] Construction was completed in 2007.[8]

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