Until 1968, Apple Valley was officially known as the township of Lebanon. The population around the township then exploded and when residents voted in 1968 to incorporate the town, they also chose to change its name to Apple Valley. It has grown steadily since 1960 but the city is still a relatively small residential and business community.
Apple Valley is a thriving business community and residents tend to be young, well educated and financially secure. The number of jobs within the Apple Valley has dramatically increased over the years, annually accounting for a quarter of all labor force growth in Minnesota. Apple Valley's appeal to new businesses can be attributed to several factors including the city's demographics, which make it an ideal test market for retail and service businesses such as Target Greatland, Walmart, Best Buy, Kohl's, Menards, Home Depot, Sam's Club, Burlington Coat Factory, Apple Valley Ford and Valley Buick GMC. The city's industrial base comprises primarily of two major industrial parks. The Apple Valley Business Park and the Valley Business Park house light industrial, manufacturing and office/warehouse facilities.
Apple Valley holds a number of community events each year including the Apple Valley Mid-Winter Fest in early February, the Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden Show in late March, the Apple Valley Foundation Celebration of Spring in mid April, Apple Valley Freedom Days in July, the Apple Valley Christmas Tree Lighting, and New Year's Eve Family Night Party.
Residents of Apple Valley are a part of the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Independent School District. The district provides a healthy, safe environment conducive to learning and educational opportunities abound in the state. Since 1987, six schools have been named National Schools of Excellence and four schools have been cited for excellence in the arts. Apple Valley's location near several colleges also makes it an attractive place to settle. The city is just minutes from Dakota County Technical College to the east in Rosemount and Inver Hills Community College to the northeast. Excellent parochial school systems, private, trade, professional and business colleges, and unparalleled university programs are also nearby. Just 30 minutes to the south is the well known St. Olaf and Concordia Colleges in Northfield. The University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Medical School are 30 minutes to the north.
In addition to the close proximity of the colleges, Apple Valley has become the home to many new business parks, shopping centers, restaurants and recreational facilities and Apple Valley residents love the convenience. Alimagnet Park is a heavily wooded 85-acre park with lake frontage, canoe launch, nature trails, picnic shelter, and volleyball court. Lebanon Hills Regional Park has an extensive 11.7 mile hiking trail system winding through hilly woodlands and grassy meadows and 2.5 miles of mountain bike trails. Apple Valley has an extensive park system on hundreds of acres. There are over 60 miles of trails for hiking, biking, skiing and exploring. There are additional facilities for boating, fishing, skiing, swimming and a plethora of recreational sports and activities. Downtown boasts a number of dining options and residents marvel in the unique collection of unique shops and boutiques, which line both sides of the street.
Minnesota residents are the healthiest in the entire Continental United States. Apple Valley residents have convenient access to two nearby community hospitals and a variety of clinics. Apple Valley Medical Center, Fairview Cedar Ridge Clinic, HealthPartners Apple Valley Clinic and South Suburban Medical Center are located in the heart of Apple Valley while Fairview Ridges Hospital is minutes away in Burnsville.
The city is conveniently located near three major north/south highways as well as the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport making travel a breeze. However, just 20 minutes south of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, Apple Valley is home to the Minnesota Zoo and the Imation IMAX Theater. It's also conveniently located to the Mall of America in nearby Bloomington and many other Twin Cities attractions.