Updates on: Graham Park, medical costs, population characteristics and more!

Corn Tower
Corn Tower

Graham Park

The County Board continues to work on plans to upgrade the facilities at Graham Park.  The upgraded facilities will enhance the ability of the community to use park and increase the ability of the County to provide community events year-round.  The new master plan will be anchored by an enclosed exhibition center.  The multi-purpose exhibition center will be used during the county fair to house animals and will replace some of the animal barns.  The exhibition center will be available for community events when the fair is not in operation.

See the video for more information on improvements to Graham Park:  https://www.facebook.com/OlmstedCounty/videos/1963278637379377/


The County and the City are working on a plan to provide a 911 dispatch services to city and county residences.  The city and county are looking at dispatch models in Dakota County to learn what can be improved in Olmsted to create an efficient and responsive dispatch system.

Medical Care Costs for People in Jail

Medicare pays for medical costs for people in prison but not for people in a county jail.  This costs Olmsted and other counties a great deal of money.  The sheriff and I sent a joint letter to members of Congress asking for a bipartisan bill to have Medicare pay for medical costs for people in jail with mental health, substance abuse, and chronic ailments.  It is important that Congress recognizes the unfair financial burden that counties have for medical costs.

Population Characteristics of Olmsted County

Source: Department of Employment and Economic Development, Region 10, 2021 – 2022 data.

164,020 – 2022 population.  This is a 13.7% increase from the 2010-2022 statistics.

37.4 – Median Age.  State median age is 38.3

170,746 – Projected 2025 population

189,025 – Projected 2035 population

94.4% – Percentage of those 18 and older with at least a high school diploma

73.5% – of adults with a college degree (68% for the state of Minnesota)

91,063 – Available workers.

2.2% – unemployment rate (2.7% for State)

10,360 Projected available worker increase from 2025 to 2035

$84,656 – Median Household Income ($77,706 for State)

$107,305 – Median Family Income ($88,356 for State)

$45,507 – Per Capita Income ($41,204 for State)

12% – Household Income less than $25,000 (2021 stats)

15.5% – Household Income $25,000 – $49,999 (2021 stats)

17% – Household Income $50,000 – $74,999 (2021 Stats)

13.6% Household Income $75,000 – $99,999 (2021 stats)

19.9% Household Income $100,000 – $149,999 (2021 stats)

22% – Household Income $150,000+ (2021 stats)

$14.74 Hourly wage required for Single adult to meet cost of living in Olmsted

$17.87 hourly wage required for family (2 adults one child) to meet cost of living in Olmsted

16.7% – Households with a mortgage spending 30% or more of their income on housing

$1,097 – Median monthly owner costs for owner-occupied unit with mortgage

$1,097 – Median monthly rent costs ($1,081 state)

45.5% – Renters spending 30% or more of household income on rent (45.4% state)

Legal Aid

Olmsted County is one two counties in Minnesota that has a single county Legal Aid provider.  The Legal Aid provider in Olmsted County has realized a 131% increase in requests for assistance this last year.  Legal Aid deals with Civil Law issues – child support, eviction, landlord-tenet disputes.  Legal Aid also provides many clinics on family law, financial law, expungement, and eviction.

Increasing Community Connections at Graham Park

A new master plan for Graham Park is needed that will include an Exhibition Center and may include an open air Performance Area.  The exhibition center will be able to house animals during the fair and be available for other events during the rest of the year.  The plan will likely need a manager and promoter for the Exhibition Center and Performance Area.  The County Board wants to meet the needs of the county and provide and environment to meet community interests.  There will be opportunities for the community to address these needs and interests.  To reach a finalized master plan, the process is lengthy; this makes it likely that a permanent grandstand will not be ready for the 2024 fair.    Facilities like this that promote quality of life and community events are generally not profit-making enterprises.  Olmsted County subsidizes the fair and other activities at Graham Park.  This is expected to continue even with the new master plan.

Health Care costs up

It is no surprise that Health Care costs have increased.  Olmsted is projecting a 10% increase in health care costs for its labor force.

Homeless Count

174 – The number of unsheltered individuals.  These were people that could be found in tents or cars; the count was taken on July 17.  Of these individuals, 71% were men, 29% were women.

129 (about 75%) of these were actively seeking housing and are on the waiting list for permanent housing. 88% of these 129 people had a home/apartment in Olmsted County.

179 – Olmsted gets about 179 visits per month of people seeking assistance for housing.


43 – The number of shelter beds at the Olmsted County year-round shelter

23 – the number of shelter beds provided by Dorothy Day

Shelter Capital Request

$10,000,000 – The Olmsted County Board approved an application for a $10 Million Shelter Capital Request.  This is the maximum grant from the State Housing Dept and will require some matching from Olmsted County.  The grants will be awarded in December.

Important Dates

  • September 19 – The maximum property tax level is set.
  • December 7 – Truth in Taxation
  • December 19 – Final Levy set

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