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Sunday, June 26, 2011

GoLocalProv announces best RI communities

One reason why they won

You'll never believe who got #1. Hint: it wasn't Charlestown. finished its week-long series on RI's best communities by announcing the top tier on Friday.

As I reported, Charlestown was ranked in the middle third of the state's 39 cities and towns at #14.

Coming in at #1, was (gulp) Cranston. The editors explained that while Cranston was not a leader in any of the categories they used to score the entries, Cranston was a consistently good performer. Mediocrity is its own reward, I guess.

At #2, and the South County leader, is South Kingstown. Our neighbor scored very high on education, economic conditions, safety and arts & culture. Being host to URI sure helped their score.

Barrington came in at #3, and surprised the editors by doing well on "affordability" (ratio of income to amount of income needed to live).

The Best Small Town honors went to #7, Glocester. They blew Charlestown away in this category with very good marks for affordability and safety (low crime rate), categories where Charlestown did not do well at all.

These types of surveys are always interesting because they give readers a chance to put some of themselves into the rankings. Like, for instance, I can imagine just about everybody in town thinking "CRANSTON! They're #1? What a rip-off!" Or, "we're a much nicer place than South Kingstown or Glocester."

Charlestown got glowing reviews for our natural beauty, and very high marks for the Chariho school system and careful financial management. But not for affordability. Not for arts & culture. Not for public safety. Fortunately, these are all areas where we can actually do things to improve. Rather than question the survey methodology, I'm inclined to see this as a challenge and opportunity to do better.

And we should see about getting a Wein-O-Rama franchise going down here. Maybe in the Charlestown Lobster Pot's old digs.

Author: Will Collette