Learn more about the communities we serve.

Community Profiles

The Perfect Mix.

Crow Wing County sits in the heart of Minnesota, about 130 miles north of Minneapolis/St. Paul. With a growing population and a stable workforce of young families and homeowners, the region offers an ideal environment to start, expand or grow a business.

Strong active communities serving 3 hubs.

BLAEDC is focused on creating jobs through business growth in three economic development “neighborhoods,” each of which has specific economic strengths and unique features. By combing all those valuable resources into one overall economic development strategy, BLAEDC creates a win-win-win for all of Crow Wing County.


BLAEDC and Community Involvement.

BLAEDC, community stakeholders and First Children’s Finance came together in the fall of 2020 to develop a Strategic Supply Plan to support the child care industry in Crow Wing County. To view the results click here: Child Care Study

Businesses want to know whether their employee benefits are competitive with others in Central Minnesota. In 2021 BLAEDC along with community partners surveyed Central Minnesota employers. To review their findings click here: Employee Benefit Study

In 2020, Crow Wing County completed a thorough review of the housing market for all of Crow Wing County, with special emphasis on middle-income, or “workforce” housing. To review the report click here: Workforce Housing Study

Economic Hubs


Brainerd/Baxter is a growing and active commercial base, with significant retail along the Washington Street and State Highway 371 corridors. With the Mississippi River running right through the center of town, Brainerd has a rich history involving the railroad, logging and paper milling. The Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railroad still operates a yard near Brainerd’s downtown, which recently underwent a revitalization. Many recreational opportunities exist here, with hundreds of nearby lakes, the Northland Arboretum, the trailhead for the 100-mile Paul Bunyan State Trail and much more.

Cuyuna Lakes

Crosby, Cuyuna, Deerwood, Emily, Ironton, Riverton, Trommald

The 5,000-acre Cuyuna State Recreation Area is the heart and soul of the Cuyuna Lakes area. This area is a recreational paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, mainly because of the 27 crystal clear mine pits that offer sensational scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, and other recreational opportunities. In addition to the mine pits, the area has a paved bike trail and is home to a new nationally recognized mountain bike trail. Outdoor recreation became a significant economic engine in this area after the iron ore mines closed several decades ago and continues to be an important part of the communities’ heritage. Downtown Crosby is regarded as the “Antique Capital of the Lakes Area” as antique shops line Main Street.

Lakes Region

Breezy Point, Crosslake, Fifty Lakes, Jenkins, Manhattan Beach, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes

The Lakes Region encompasses the Whitefish Chain of Lakes and Pelican Lake, two of the premium lake systems in the Brainerd Lakes Area. The communities in this hub are smaller and rely heavily on seasonal tourism traffic, either by offering services that visitors or seasonal residents need, or with unique and distinctive shopping opportunities. Small resorts and campgrounds dot the shoreline of area lakes, which provide excellent recreation and fishing. Nisswa has a renowned shopping destination and Pequot Lakes, with an industrial park, offers retail stores and has a strong employment base with several major employers in the area.