By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
It won’t come as a surprise to many of us who live here that Alexandria “exceeded expectations” in a quality of life study conducted by The Center for Rural Communities at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. The work is funded in part by the Otto Bremer Trust. According to the project website, “What we measure matters, and measuring quality of life and well-being is essential for understanding rural communities.”
The Northwoods Quality of Life Database brings together a comprehensive list of data on rural communities across the north woods areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Utilizing a variety of original, proprietary data collected by the Center for Rural Communities and data gathered from governmental, nonprofit, and print sources, this initiative supports a public database of quality of life metrics and examines the various factors and characteristics that describe quality of life in the identified region.
The study collected recreational infrastructure data in five categories: indoor recreation, outdoor recreation, youth recreational programming, adult recreational programming, and waterfront recreational amenities. Data was gathered on such things as number of parks, number of baseball fields, and miles of paved trails in the community and then scored The goal of the project is to “understand the things that make a rural community a good place to live, work, and play’ and to “provide baseline data and track changes over time related to important characteristics of rural communities in the north woods region.”
More information on the study can be found here: https://www.northland.edu/sustainability/crc/data-visualizations/recreation-database/