Colorado town top choice as best small place to live

Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:16pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Tired of living in a bustling city with millions of people and high crime rates? Head to Louisville, Colorado, which topped Money Magazine's list of the 100 best small towns in the United States.

With a strong economy, affordable housing, good schools and just 20 minutes from Denver, it came in No. 1 among places with populations ranging from 8,500 to 50,000.

"We know that in this economy that people are most concerned about living in a place where there is a strong local economy and lots of jobs," Donna Rosato, of Money Magazine, said in an interview.

"It has key factors like having good schools, low crime, affordable homes and lots to do. Louisville had the best combination of all those things."

Louisville also scored points because of its closeness to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is less than an hour away, its many hiking trails and its proximity to ski resorts.

It edged past Chanhassen in Minnesota, Papillion in Nebraska, Middleton in Wisconsin and Milton in Massachusetts, which rounded out the top five small towns.

A recent poll of 43,000 people, which guided how the magazine selected the best 100 small places to live, showed that availability of jobs was the most important aspect in assessing a town.

Other factors in the magazine's selection were the quality of schools, crime rate, home affordability, sense of community, diversity, access to healthcare and arts and leisure.   Continued...

<p>Smoke continues to pour from the canyons of the Rocky Mountains in the Hayman fire south of Denver, Colorado June 13, 2002. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>