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Answer Man: Stewartville is not a suburb — yet

October 2, 2018

Editor’s note: Enjoy this Classic Answer Man column from Sept. 19, 2013.

Dear Answer Man, yesterday, I was driving up U.S. 63, and I don’t think it was even a mile out of Stewartville when I saw a sign for the Rochester city limits. Does that mean I had arrived in Rochester? I’m not sure what the definition of a suburb is, but I assume it’s when two jurisdictions meet up. Is Stewartville soon to become a suburb? It is also getting to be a tight squeeze between Rochester and Oronoco.

I enjoy your column very much; I look forward to it every day — except Sunday, of course. — Roger Martin

Thanks for the note, Roger. Just a tip: You can look forward to my Monday column all day Sunday.

Yes, Stewartville is very, very close to being a true suburb, and as Roger says, the definition would be that they butt right up against each other. Stewartville’s north edge is pretty darn close to Interstate 90, and Rochester’s south edge is just off the runways at Rochester International Airport. I was under the impression you could hit a golf ball from one city to the other, if you’re an accomplished golfer, which I am. Turns out, it’s not that close, and even I can’t hit a tee shot three miles.

Bill Schimmel, Stewartville’s affable city administrator, said Stewartville’s north edge is generally a mile south of the junction of I-90 and U.S. 63, and he said Rochester’s is about two miles north of there. People already use the term “suburb,” though, and Bill notes that Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede has quipped that Rochester is “Stewartville’s northern suburb.”

Bill likes that formulation, of course.

I asked him if he thinks that three-mile gap will be closed and Stewartville will literally be a suburb within 10 years. “By golly, in 10 years? Well, Destination Medical Center gives it a booster shot,” Bill said, adding he thinks it’s very possible. Both cities “have had inquiries for improvements on the (I-90 and U.S. 63) interchange, and some have asked about water and sewer.”

He said neither city will extend its boundaries to the interchange without full services. He also said there’s a gentleman’s agreement that neither city will attempt to grow past I-90 into the other’s assumed territory.

By the way, there’s another guy named William Schimmel who is considered “one of the principal architects in the resurgence of the accordion.” Next time I talk to Stewartville’s Bill, I’ll ask if he knows how to play the “Beer Barrel Polka.”

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