Why St. James?


View our Community Video by clicking here. 

Location & Population

A diverse “micro” regional center

St. James is a close-knit community located just 38 miles from Mankato on Highway 60. We are the Watonwan County Seat, with a population of nearly 5,000 people. Our community is culturally diverse, with over 37% of our residents having Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.

Living in St. James, you feel a sense of security and safety that comes from living in a small town. Our residents “watch out for each other” and we are known for our philanthropy and giving nature. Each year there are new community projects that are only made possible from fundraising efforts of community members. The community also gives an outstanding amount of money in scholarships to graduating seniors, and there are benefits, luncheons and chicken or steak fries almost every weekend supporting various causes.

We like to refer to St. James as a “micro” regional center. We are the largest community in a wide radius, offering a little bit of everything. If you make St. James your home, you can find nearly any service you need right in town, with the convenience of additional retail stores, entertainment, and outdoor recreation opportunities within 40 miles.

St. James celebrates its cultural diversity with a widely attended, annual event called the Multicultural Fiesta. Additionally, the City of St. James is implementing inclusive housing programs that remove barriers to success for recent immigrants. The City’s progressive work has been discussed on a national level and is being looked at as a model for other communities experiencing high rates of immigration.

Investments in Our Community

Building our assets 

St. James has seen a significant rise in large-scale investments over recent years, from healthcare and City infrastructure, to business expansions and a successful school district referendum.

HEALTHCARE- St. James has abundant healthcare options, from optometrists, dentists, chiropractors and physical therapists, to a satellite VA Clinic and an award-winning Mayo Clinic/Hospital. Mayo Clinic Health System St. James opened doors to a new 22 million dollar facility in November of 2007.

INFRASTRUCTURE- The City of St. James completed significant infrastructure improvements in recent years. Over 22 million dollars were invested between 2016 and 2018, including community roads, water and sewer infrastructure, and a new storm sewer system. Check out the “first mini-roundabouts on a Minnesota State Highway” in our downtown, part of the State Highway 4 reconstruction project in 2017.

BUSINESS EXPANSIONS- Business is booming in the St. James Industrial Park with four success stories in four years. Tri-County Seed, a full service agronomy business, opened doors to a brand new 9,000 square foot facility in the St. James Industrial Park in January of 2016. In the summer of 2016, Italian-owned DODA USA constructed an additional 31,000 square foot building to expand their manufacturing and office space. Industrial Construction Services (ICS) added over 21,000 square feet of storage space over recent years, completely renovating a vacant building. In 2018 the St. James Economic Development Authority constructed a 20,000 square foot industrial speculative building, which was sold to Great River Energy, who sought to expand their footprint in the community.

SCHOOL DISTRICT- In 2017, the St. James School District 840 passed a $24.9 million referendum for the expansion and remodeling of their buildings. With this referendum the school system was able to make renovations to their gym facilities, media centers, security, technology, theaters, office, and pool, and expanded with additional classroom space. The remodeling is yet another example of a progressive school district focused on innovative methods, caring teachers, and success both inside and outside the classroom.

Quality of Life

Many of our community members live here for the outdoor recreation opportunities that are provided from our Parks and Trails system. St. James Area Bike Trail circles St. James Lake, offering a 4 mile paved trail. Connecting to this trail is the WatLine Trail, which opened in 2017 and heads South to Long Lake for five miles.

This is just a small introduction to our wonderful community. Visit our community website at www.discoverstjamesmn.com to discover more of what St. James has to offer.