The city of Mankato is a major regional center that has been designated as a Metropolitan Statistical Area and has earned several livability awards. Recently, it was reported that Mankato's economic growth leads Minnesota and among the top in the nation. It is renowned for great parks and trails. Rivers, lakes, ravines, bluffs, natural prairies and forested areas offer breathtaking landscapes and provide a scenic backdrop for an area steeped in historic significance. At the same time, Mankatoans enjoy the peace of mind and quality of life often associated with smaller towns.