Burnsville is a city 15 miles (24 km) south of downtown Minneapolis in Dakota County in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The city lies on the south bank of the Minnesota River, upstream from the confluence with the Mississippi River. Burnsville and nearby suburbs form the southern portion of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, the thirteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.2 million residents. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 59,118 in 2007. In addition, the 2008 American Community Survey estimated the city's population at 74,979. Known in the metro area for its regional mall, Burnsville Center, the city is also a recreational attraction with Alimagnet Dog Park, a section of Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, and 310-foot vertical ski peak Buck Hill. Minnesota River wildlife is protected by the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Originally a rural Irish farming community, Burnsville became the tenth largest Minnesotan city in the 2000 Census following the construction of Interstate 35. Currently the sixth largest suburb in the metro area and a bedroom community of both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the city was fully built by the late 2000s. Burnsville has been building a downtown area called Heart of the City with urban-style retail and condominiums. The Burnsville Transit Station serves as the hub and headquarters of the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, providing regional bus service to five other suburbs. The population continues to reflect a suburban demographic that was 81.2% Caucasian, 67.5% familial households, and a median household income of $71,687 in the 2008 Census estimate. The name Burnsville is attributed to an early Irish settler and land owner, William Byrne. His surname was recorded as "Burns" and was never corrected.