Hawley, Minnesota – Clay County

April 22, 2024

Hawley, Minnesota

A Minnesota Jewel With Much to Offer


Enthusiastically embracing its small town charm as well as its dynamic future

Set against the meandering waters of the Buffalo River in Clay County, Minnesota, Hawley is a true example of friendly small-town charm combined with a progressive and enduring legacy. Although it took six name changes, the town found its permanent identity in 1872, honoring Thomas Hawley Canfield of the Northern Pacific Railway.

Boasting an enviable geographic location, described by Mayor Sean Mork as being “right smack dab in the middle of Fargo-Moorhead and Detroit Lakes,” Hawley offers a quiet and welcoming refuge for commuters, with proximity to ample recreational opportunities. “It’s a perfect town with this small town feeling, but we still have a lot of amenities of a bigger community,” Mork adds.

Community and Lifestyle

What truly sets Hawley apart is its sense of community and quality of life. As Marketing Consultant, Lee Schwartz, explains, “Hawley has all the best things of a small town and has one of everything you’d expect from a larger town.”

“It has all of the larger city amenities but doesn’t have the crime or the congestion of those places. If your favorite pastimes after work are golfing or going to the lakes, Hawley is almost right on top of both of those things.”

The Hawley Golf and Country Club was founded in the 1920s as a 3-hole course and has evolved over the years, now offering an 18-hole course for golfers of all skill levels to enjoy. Open to the public, the setting is as beautiful as it is fun to play and is beloved by residents and visitors to the city.

With several lakes within a 20-minute drive, Hawley is rich with outdoor opportunities, from fishing and boating to camping, swimming, and time on the beach. In addition, the green space is plentiful.

“We have four city parks, and we are close to other park systems,” describes Mayor Mork.

“There’s a state park within about 10 miles from us with camping, there are walking trails and cross-country skiing there in the wintertime. We also have a snowmobile route throughout town and around the area here that connects us to the Lakes Country and other towns in the area.”


Infrastructure and Development

Recent infrastructure developments, including the revamp of the water tower and the completion of phase three of a city realignment project, which saw updates to water and sewer, exemplify Hawley’s commitment to a sustainable community.

“Infrastructure-wise, we’re pretty much right where we should be,” remarks Mayor Mork.

“Phase three was a year-long project of getting the last third of our city up to date to where we need it because it had the old clay tile sewer system in there.”

Lonnie Neuner, City Administrator adds that plans include updates and maintenance to the city’s electrical system, which reflects the forward-thinking approach Hawley takes to its infrastructure.

Regarding housing, Neuner highlights Prairie Hills Estates, a new development on the northwest side of the community. “It’s about three-quarters full at this moment,” he explains.

“There’s one more area to be developed in this development, as one phase was opened up and constructed last year. There are some other potential areas of growth for housing also, but that would be a little bit down the road.”

Mayor Mork emphasizes the advantageous housing incentives available for those who build in the city.

He shares, “There is no limit on how big or how much you build your home for, the taxes are abated for the first two years that you live there. Not only are there some rebates through our electrical department during building, but you would also get some different rebates when first moving into a new home when you build here.”

Business and Investment Opportunities

Schwartz points out that Hawley’s strategic location makes it a prime destination for investment.

“We touched on it a little bit before, that there’s proximity to two major cities, Fargo, to the west and Detroit Lakes to the east. The airport is only a few miles away, and we have two connecting interstates close by, so in terms of a business that needs transportation, it’s really good for that. We are close to major transportation channels.”

With over 147 thriving businesses and a large Industrial Park, Hawley offers ample opportunities for entrepreneurs to flourish.

“I think the attractiveness for the town is that it’s probably not lost among the clutter of big city businesses,” acknowledges Schwartz. “It’s proven to be a very welcome and friendly business community.”

The city boasts a wealth of success stories from businesses that have either originated in Hawley or chosen it as their home base. This spirit of achievement is exemplified through the endeavors of notable enterprises such as engineering firms Pharmamed and RAPAT Corporation, construction company Sellin Brothers Inc, Hefty Seed Company, and Petermann Seeds, among numerous others who have grown and prospered as part of the city’s economic landscape.


Events and Community Engagement

From community events to scenic parks and recreational trails, there’s always something to see and do in Hawley. As with many smaller communities, school activities take center stage, bringing an array of opportunities for residents to gather together to enjoy the arts and sports offerings of the students.

Echoing the essence of tradition in the city, the Hawley Rodeo is a much anticipated main event, taking place every year during the first week of June. “It brings in about 5000 people or so, depending on the different events that are going on,” portrays the mayor. “It’s an area rodeo that comes in. They’ve been doing it for the last 50 years in Hawley and it is still going strong.” As part of a nationwide rodeo circuit, the Barnes PRCA Rodeo brings notoriety to the community as it makes its annual stop on a tour throughout all of the rodeo communities.

The city is also proud of its civic organizations, including the Hawley Jaycees, Hawley Lions, Hawley Women of Today, and the Hawley Area Fire Department, all of whom contribute immensely to the community through donations, fundraising, and volunteer efforts.

Looking Ahead

As Hawley looks to the future, Neuner says there are exciting prospects on the horizon.

“There are certain areas of town that we are in the process of developing, planning, and taking all the steps to increase our commercial business capacity, along with our housing development. There’s a lot of ideas and views for the future, and possibilities for more commercial development along Highway 10,” he elaborates.

Maintaining a welcoming ambiance is a priority as the city looks towards growth.

Neuner once again underscores the unique charm of Hawley, remarking, “We have the small town feel so close to other metropolitan areas. We have a great school system. The community members support the teams and all the other activities from the school very well. There’s a sort of pride in the Hawley residents about living here and in what the city of Hawley provides to them.”


Hawley Minnesota

What: A community with small-town charm and big-city opportunities

Where: Clay County, Minnesota

Website: www.hawley.govoffice.com


City of Hawley – https://hawley.govoffice.com/

Nestled in the heart of Clay County, Minnesota, Hawley is known as a welcoming community with safe neighborhoods and excellent educational opportunities, where neighbors know each other by name and support local businesses and events.

Hawley provides easy access to outstanding outdoor activities. Surrounded by natural beauty, residents can enjoy hiking, fishing, and kayaking in nearby lakes and parks, offering a perfect balance of leisure and adventure. The town’s commitment to maintaining green spaces and promoting a healthy lifestyle is evident in its well-kept parks and recreational facilities.

For professionals, Hawley presents a growing economy with diverse job opportunities. The local business environment is supportive of entrepreneurs, with resources available for start-ups and established businesses looking to expand. The proximity to larger, nearby cities provides additional employment options without sacrificing the quality of life that comes with living in a smaller community. Hawley is conveniently located near major interstates and is just minutes away from Fargo’s Hector International Airport.

Educationally, Hawley offers highly rated schools, providing a nurturing environment for students. Small class sizes ensure personalized attention, contributing to the academic success and well-being of children.

Hawley, Minnesota, combines the serenity of rural living with the perks of economic growth, making it an ideal place to live, work, and thrive.

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