Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wayne, Edison, Parsippany Make Money's Top 100

The magazine named Fort Collins is the "Best Place to Live" in America for 2006, in a list that also included five New Jersey cities.

The magazine cited Fort Collins for its natural setting, vibrant downtown and the presence of Colorado State University. The city 60 miles north of Denver and not far from Rocky Mountain National Park also outpaced other places in "ease-of-living" measures such as commute times and recreation.

The monthly magazine's August edition ranks Fort Collins No. 1 among 745 places with populations greater than 50,000.

Five Garden State cities were also listed in the top 100: Parsippany, Cherry Hill, Edison, Middletown and Wayne.

Cities are ranked on a series of factors, including cost of living, employment markets, median income, property taxes and housing prices. Crime, congestion, public schools and climate also go into the mix, executive editor Craig Matters said.

The annual "best places to live" feature has appeared in Money for many years, Matters said. Last year the magazine focused on prime suburban areas. The rankings and associated data available online proved so popular editors decided to expand to small cities.

The goal was to highlight communities with fewer than 300,000 residents that are not dependent on metropolitan areas for jobs, art and entertainment venues and recreation, he said.

Last year, Fort Collins made Outside magazine's list as a "dream town" to live and work in part because of the area's abundant recreational opportunities.

National attention doesn't necessarily attract more people or businesses to those communities, Matters said.

"We are not a leading indicator, we are following," he said. "People already know these are great places to live."

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