Annandale, Minnesota – Wright County

March 28, 2024

Annandale, Minnesota

A Gem by the Lakes


Where community unity inspires progress and dynamic growth

Boasting an enviable setting surrounded by the tranquil beauty of Minnesota’s lakes, Annandale exudes a captivating charm as well as possessing dynamic optimism. Situated in the heart of the North Star State, Annandale is a close-knit community rooted in a steep history, yet poised to welcome commercial and residential growth for its valued residents to enjoy.

Journey through Annandale’s history

Established in 1888, the city derived its name from Annan, Scotland, and its growth owes much to the expansion of the Great Northern Railway. This railway ushered in commerce and attracted settlers to the area, catalyzing its transformation into a thriving center of activity and trade.

Even today, Annandale bears the imprints of its storied past, evident in the architectural beauty of its downtown structures and the nostalgic ambiance of its streets. The city’s historical legacy is commemorated through nearby Pioneer Park, which allows residents and visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in its rich heritage.

Annandale owes much of its unique character to the abundance of lakes that grace its vicinity. With 26 lakes within a 10-mile radius, it’s no surprise that this city is synonymous with lake living. This natural wonder contributes to the city’s scenic beauty and attracts a significant seasonal population.

While the year-round population hovers around 3,400 residents, it can swell to 8,000-10,000 during the summer, thanks to the influx of lake enthusiasts. Mayor Shelly Jonas and Kelly Hinnenkamp, City Administrator, emphasize the city’s distinctive character and the robust sense of community nurtured by permanent and seasonal residents.

Recent strides in infrastructure development

As part of its ongoing commitment to enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors, Annandale has been diligently improving its infrastructure. In recent years, several significant projects have been successfully completed.

One sizable project was the Hemlock project, which saw the installation of the city’s first roundabout. This project involved multiple stakeholders, including the state, local schools, and a nonprofit assisted living facility. Funding for the project was secured through federal and state grants totaling $2.4 million.

Hinnenkamp states, “The city played a vital role in leading that collaborative effort.” The successful completion of the Hemlock project has greatly improved transportation safety and convenience, particularly for students and families in the school district.

Another ongoing project that has been transforming Annandale is the downtown redevelopment initiative. The project, completed in 2020, aimed to revive the city’s Main Street, which required extensive reconstruction. While it posed challenges for local businesses, the city council took proactive measures to support them during this transition.

The project focused on infrastructure and encouraged businesses to update their facades through a grant program, creating a more modern yet charming downtown area.

“Downtown is really important to the community, and they take a lot of pride in it,” Mayor Jonas states.


Growth in Annandale’s housing sector

Annandale took proactive measures to stimulate growth after the recession and the housing market crash. The city initiated a housing incentive program to encourage new residential activity by waiving certain fees. This calculated move proved highly successful and instrumental in boosting the number of new homes starting in the area. Under the program, the city waived connection fees for new home starts, which resulted in over 50 homes being constructed over a 5 year period.

One significant housing development is the Triplet Farms project, which has recently added 82 single-family home lots to the city’s housing stock. This development has met with remarkable success, with over half the lots already built upon.

Additionally, Annandale annexed a farm property located on Lake John just outside city limits, which extended sewer and water services to the area, resulting in the creation of 23 single-family lots, with 11 of them overlooking the lake. The anticipates construction on these lots to start in 2024.

As emphasized by Hinnenkamp, this expansion reflects the city’s good fortune in having interested developers, strong demand, and the necessary infrastructure to address the city’s growing housing needs.

The city has acknowledged the demand for market-rate rental housing and has greenlit plans for two apartment complexes, one with 90 units and another with 65 units. Construction on these projects is set to begin soon, addressing the rising need for rental properties.

Prospects for Investment

In addition to being a desirable place to live, Annandale offers substantial investment opportunities. Its strategic location and commitment to infrastructure development make it an appealing prospect for businesses and investors.

In recent discussions, the city has explored transforming into a more live-and-work-friendly community. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the viability of remote work, and Annandale’s serene environment makes it an attractive option for those seeking an escape from urban life. For a small town, Annandale offers all the necessary amenities like strong schools, attractive parks and trails, health care options, a pharmacy, grocery store, hardware store and many restaurant and retail options. While COVID shut down many businesses, Annandale was fortunate to open several new retail businesses during 2020 including an ice cream shop and a clothing retailer.

Its proximity to lakes and recreational amenities also creates various business opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Alongside thriving housing developments and a growing population, the area provides an ideal setting for businesses looking to serve the expanding community.

A thriving arts scene

Annandale offers a surprising array of cultural experiences for those passionate about the arts. The town boasts an active beautification committee. This group’s passion for the arts enriches the community’s cultural landscape by encouraging public art and aesthetic improvements like public flowers, trees and lighting projects.  Additionally, Annandale is home to Annandale Arts & Textile Center a 501c3 non-profit vocational weaving facility that provides jobs to those with a variety of learning abilities and sells unique woven items as well as  the work of local artists. In 2023, AATC expanded to offer classroom space for those interested in weaving, painting and sketching.

The Southbrook Golf & Country Club is another cherished attraction in Annandale. This scenic 18-hole golf course offers a challenging round of golf and breathtaking views of the surrounding lakes and countryside. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy the beautiful Minnesota summers on the green, and the clubhouse is an ideal spot for socializing and enjoying a meal with friends.


Community-centric events

Annandale’s vibrant community is celebrated through various annual events and gatherings, with the Annandale Chamber of Commerce playing a considerable role in organizing and coordinating many activities. Showcasing local talent and shopkeepers as well as creating a community focus, Annandale’s many events bring locals together with pride for their community.

Kicking off the year in April, the annual expo attracts approximately 1,000 visitors and showcases local businesses, fostering a strong sense of community engagement. The city also hosts a beloved tradition, the Chilli Cook Off, that continues to draw visitors from the local community and beyond. Participants enjoy delicious chili from various local businesses in a friendly competition.

One of the most beloved events is the Annandale Fourth of July celebration, a week-long extravaganza of parades, fireworks, and family fun. The streets come alive with the vivid colors of the parade floats, and the night sky is illuminated with fireworks that reflect off the shimmering waters of Pleasant Lake.

The mayor also draws attention to the Farmers Market held every Saturday during the summer,  which reflects the community’s spirit as residents come together to support local farmers and artisans.

Other notable events include the Downtown Art Crawl, A Classic Car Cruise In, Downtown Trick or Treating, Main Street Holiday, the CP Rail Holiday Train, and ending the year with a bang, the New Year’s Eve event features a dramatic ball drop at 9 p.m., allowing residents of all ages to join in the festivities.

A focus on the future

As Annandale looks toward 2024 and beyond, it envisions a series of key development initiatives and projects. The city’s primary objective is to finalize its ongoing redevelopment projects, enhancing the downtown area and making it even more appealing to residents and businesses.

Recognizing the crucial role of infrastructure, the city is committed to consistent investments, encompassing transportation improvements, upgraded lighting systems, and utility replacements. Annandale also has ambitious plans to designate a 40-acre parcel for new businesses within the community, aiming to invigorate economic growth.

An exciting upcoming project involves the construction of pickleball courts; as Jonas enthusiastically states, ‘We’re building pickleball courts this year, and it’s likely the most exciting development for many in our community.’

Annandale, Minnesota, offers more than just picturesque lakeside beauty; it’s a place where traditional charm seamlessly blends with modern development. With a focus on infrastructure, housing, and community engagement, Annandale is poised for continued growth and prosperity in the years to come. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful lakeside retreat, a place to start a business, or an investment opportunity, Annandale’s “The Heart of the Lakes” holds a special place in the hearts of those who call it home.


Annandale, Minnesota

What: A city enveloped by many pristine lakes provides a serene environment that enhances residents’ quality of life and spurs economic growth.

Where: Located in central Minnesota, in Wright County, 50 miles northwest of Minneapolis.


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