Let's make it 853: Rice Lake Township will be Minnesota's newest city

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Rice Lake will be Minnesota's newest city come October.

judge's order published last week granted Rice Lake Township's petition for incorporation, making it Minnesota's 853rd city, according tor the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) on Twitter.

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Residents will vote on the city's mayor and city council members at an election scheduled for Oct. 13, the township's website says. A timeline for when candidates must file for election will be posted there in the next few days.

The 32-square-mile township, located just north of Duluth in St. Louis County, was founded in 1870, but has reached a point where it needs a city government to continue its prosperity, according to the township's website.

Rice Lake began its efforts to become a city back in 2014 when Duluth officials said it should annex part of the township, the Duluth News Tribune says. The town formally applied for city status back in January, the judge's order notes.

“The main reason (to incorporate) was to remove the threat of annexation,’’ John Werner, a township supervisor, told the paper. “It was simply no longer an option to remain a township. But the people clearly wanted to remain Rice Lake. So now we are the city of Rice Lake.”

Rice Lake currently has a population of about 4,000 people, Northland's NewsCenter reports, but is expected to grow 19-30 percent by 2040, which makes city status appropriate for the township, the judge's order said.

Rice Lake is expected to be the fastest-growing municipality in the Twin Ports region, the Duluth News Tribune notes.

While the township transitions to the City of Rice Lake, neighboring Duluth and Hermantown, as well as St. Louis County, will help deliver services to the residents, Rice Lake's website notes.

The city status is also not expected to affect residents' property bills because Rice Lake is already functioning much like a city, the judge's order notes.

The latest township to become incorporated was Nowthen in 2008, according to LMC's website, while the most recent change to Minnesota cities came earlier this year when Carlton and Thomson consolidated.

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