Archive for Thursday, December 7, 2006

Shawnee is rated a top-25 suburb

December 7, 2006

Shawnee's excellent schools, homes and crime prevention have caught the eye of the nation.

In a recent article, Businessweek.com has named Shawnee as one of the 25 best affordable suburbs in the United States. Given the recognition, Shawnee Mayor Jeff Meyers said he can't help but crow about the city a little bit.

"It's recognition for the city, the school system, for residents as a whole; something they can be proud of and should be proud of," he said.

Here's how the list was produced. Working with Portland, Ore.-based Web site Sperling's Best Places, BusinessWeek.com analyzed statistics on crime, housing prices, cost of living and schools to come up with the top 25 list.

The cities on the list provide "the winning combination of affordability, academics, safety and culture that most families dream about but can rarely find," the article reads.

A sense of identity and a good economy were also criteria in the search. All of the suburbs selected are located within an hour's drive of a major U.S. city.

The cities weren't ranked, but Shawnee is listed 14th because the cities are listed in alphabetical order by their metropolitan area.

Meyers said to be chosen as the best affordable suburb in Kansas City was a great honor considering the competition in the same county.

"I think that the city of Shawnee being chosen as one of these 25 suburbs is kind of indicative of Johnson County as a whole, but I do think Shawnee deserves the recognition based on the uniqueness of our city in the areas they were looking at," Meyers said.

Those areas included each city's median home price, cost of living index, secondary schools test scores index and violent crime index.

The article listed Shawnee's median home price as $207,100. In the indexes, which all have a national average of 100, the article reported Shawnee as having a cost of living index of 104.7, a secondary school test scores index of 107 and a violent crime index of 33.

Meyers said the city certainly provides a variety of housing opportunities, and its two outstanding school districts, Shawnee Mission and De Soto, likely had a lot to do with Shawnee's selection.

The article also noted that culture was part of the criteria, and most of the cities chosen "have a vibrant downtown scene, with fine restaurants, sophisticated shopping, and seasonal festivals."

Meyers said he thought Shawnee's festivals and what he termed as the city's "cultural availability to residents" may have been part of what made the city the most attractive.

"If you look at the city of Shawnee and the types of events that the city and the community put on throughout the year, you can go right down the line for every season, and there are events all throughout the year," he said. "Not that other communities don't also do that, but I think the extent that Shawnee takes its cultural events is beyond other cities."

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