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What it takes to stay: A dispatch from Marshall

In between the major segments of our ongoing Rural Minnesota: Generation at the Crossroads series, we will be posting interim pieces by or about young people we meet around the state. We connected with Anna Haecherl-Smith, 24, through Twitter. She used our online form (Are you under 25 and living in Minnesota? We have some questions for you) to tell us a little bit about the Marshall she knows. Her last comment, about Marshall needing to focus on the needs of young people, is something we're hearing a lot. What about your community? What are the specific needs of young people and how are community leaders meeting them? See you in the comments! — Jeff Severns Guntzel

I live and work in Marshall (30 minutes up the road from where I grew up near Slayton) as a marketing and technical writer. I also teach drum and guitar lessons at the local guitar store. Last year, my husband and I bought a house in town after making the decision to stick around. We've both found jobs that we like and we really like living in our community.

Anna Haecherl-Smith
Courtesy of Haecherl-Smith
Anna Haecherl-Smith

I attended Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get a job in writing out here after college. I delivered pizza, worked at a coffee shop, and even served food at a corporate cafeteria with the hope that the CEO would come down one day and find me, the diamond in the rough, and hire me on the spot.

Even though Marshall has a population under 15,000, it’s always seemed like a big town to me. Growing up near a town of 2,000 people with no stoplights, Marshall is quite a change.

Before my current job, I served as the Marshall Area Fine Art Council's coordinator. I was able to meet a lot of local artists and citizens who really cared about Marshall and its future. That experience helped cement my plans to stay in Marshall.

That said, I’d like to move sometime in the future. If I were able to get another job I’d consider moving to a larger town, but not for a few more years. If I did move, I’d like to stay in Minnesota.

I hope that Marshall will continue to grow. We’re getting more businesses in town (Menard’s just recently opened), and the city is working on a new park and painting murals downtown. With the right kind of growth and detail, Marshall could become a great place for young people to raise a family. Our town just needs to make sure that they focus on the needs of young people.

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Comments (1)

Way to go Anna! How about some specific suggestions for your next post!