Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is best small city: survey

Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:43pm EDT
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By Chelsea Emery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Eden Prairie, Minnesota, was named the best small city in the United States in a new poll because of its low unemployment, abundance of lakes and safe streets.

The family-friendly city also boasts job growth of 12.6 percent and 125 miles of running and biking trails, according to Money magazine, which ranked 100 small cities with populations of 50,000 to 300,000 in terms of housing, affordability, safety and economic strength.

Columbia/Ellicott City, Maryland, came second due to the 8,000 jobs provided by the nearby National Security Agency and the Fort Meade Army base, plus highly rated schools. Thousands more jobs are expected in the next year, Money said.

"Affordable homes, booming economy, education are the things," said Beth Fenner, editor of the survey.

She added that that the poll showed a slew of "Midwestern towns where you can get a ton for your money, the schools are good, there's low unemployment. You should really think about checking these places out."

Newton in Massachusetts, Bellevue, Washington and McKinney, Texas rounded out the top five small cities.

The findings are based on information from data services firm Onboard Informatics.

In the last survey in 2008, Columbia/Ellicott City, Maryland, ranked No. 8 while Eden Prairie missed the top 10 altogether.   Continued...