ROSEAU, Minn. – The signs along Main Avenue and other streets in this northwest Minnesota community pretty much say it all:
“Roseau feels like home.”
“Simple, but very complex,” is how Mary Hoffer, the city's promotions director, describes Roseau. Visitors will find a clean and well-kept community with an abundance of recreational opportunities, major employers, a variety of shopping and dining options and quality medical care.
People in Roseau take pride in this place that feels like home. And it shows.
“As small towns go, Roseau is great,” Hoffer says, rattling off a list of assets that includes parks and trails; Roseau Community School, where a $40 million expansion and renovation project is underway; LifeCare Medicare Center, which in February was named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital by the Chartis Center for Rural Health; a busy main street with a variety of small businesses and restaurants; and Polaris Industries, one of the region’s largest employers.
Permanent flood protection, completed after the Roseau River flooded the city in June 2002, diverts flood waters around the east end of the city and includes such recreational amenities as paved trails, birdwatching stations, trailhead parking, a picnic area and a water restriction structure that doubles as a pedestrian bridge over the river.
The Roseau City Center, a facility that resulted from flood recovery funding, houses the public library, the Roseau County Museum, several city offices and a meeting space available for reunions and other functions.
“We have good, hard-working residents with multi-generations of families choosing to stay in Roseau,” Hoffer said. “We like things to flow along smoothly like the Roseau River going through town. It’s a great place to call home.”
Despite the damage it caused, the river is a recreational hub for fishing, kayaking and canoeing. The Roseau City Park, nestled among more than 40 acres next to the Roseau River, includes a campground, patio and picnic areas, a disc golf course and a boat ramp with a large dock and kayak launch.
The Riverview Gazebo Park, also new since the flood, is the setting for Thursday night concerts throughout the summer – even this year, when COVID-19 has resulted in so many events being canceled, said Pam Hetteen of Roseau, who oversees the Thursday night concert series.
“That made many people happy as it brings a bit of normalcy in a time when nothing else is the same,” Hetteen said.
From deer, waterfowl and upland game hunting to fishing, snowmobiling, hiking or riding the extensive ATV trail system in Beltrami Island State Forest, Roseau is an outdoors hub.
And don’t forget Roseau Memorial Arena, one of Minnesota’s iconic hockey barns and home to the Roseau Rams boys and girls hockey teams, both regular participants in their respective state high school hockey tournaments.
The abundance of nearby natural resources brings stress relief during these troubled times, said Hoffer, the city promoter -- peace and quiet amidst the world’s trauma.
“Load up your favorite outdoor toys and come for a visit,” she said.