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Mankato no longer in danger of losing 'metropolitan' status

The now-rejected proposal would have reclassified Mankato.

Mankato is no longer in danger of losing its status as a "metropolitan" area.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday it is not going to implement a recommendation from earlier this year that would have changed the definition of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). 

Currently, the core of an MSA must have a population of at least 50,000. In January, the Office of Management and Budget said it was considering raising that number to 100,000. This meant Mankato (and more than 140 other MSAs in the country) would have lost its metropolitan status. 

Instead, it would have become a nonmetro "micropolitan" urban core.

The agency's decision to not go ahead with the rules change means Mankato will retain its MSA designation, Greater Mankato Growth said.

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith earlier this year were among the group of senators that signed a letter opposing the change. Their concern centered around federal funding sources, some of which use these metropolitan and micropolitan designations to allocate money. 

As the Mankato Free Press reports, Mankato could have lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars for housing and transportation programs if the change had been adopted.

Klobuchar, in a statement Tuesday, applauded the decision, saying the continuation of existing rules will "ensure these areas receive the funding and resources necessary to enable communities to thrive.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who represents Mankato as part of Minnesota's First Congressional District, said he was "thrilled."

"This harmful proposal would have put cities with less than 100,000 people at a competitive disadvantage by taking away opportunities that help grow these communities in areas such as business, infrastructure, and healthcare," he said. "The rejection of this proposal is wonderful news for cities like Mankato, whose metro status is essential for furthering economic development."

Mankato's population in 2019, according to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, was just under 44,400.

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