What Makes Ronnie Roll: NerdWallet, Niche.com, Nice!

6-6-2015 11-53-22 AMMayor Ronnie had had to re-schedule from our usual Monday “Mornings With Ronnie.” City of Athens Communications Specialist Holly Hollman was on hand to put together these rather mind-blowing statistics regarding the attention our fair town has been garnering from as far away as San Francisco, which is the headquarters of NerdWallet. The two data gathering companies, NerdWallet and niche.com have given statistical substance to what we have suspected for a long time, and that is, that Athens, AL is one of the best places to live, ANYWHERE! Below is the compilation of findings, put together for us by Holly.

2015 Niche.com Rankings for Best Towns (under 100,000 population) Athens is No. 11 in Alabama for 2015 Best Towns, according to Niche.com 2015 rankings. The city received an A- in both education and housing. The city ranks No. 63 nationally for Best Town to Buy a House, and No. 5 in the state. The Athens City School System ranks No. 12 in the state for Towns with the Best Public Schools. Athens ranks No. 6 in Alabama on the list of Best Towns to Raise a Family, and No. 6 on Towns with the Best Community in the state. Athens ranks No. 3 for Safest Towns in Alabama. Athens City Schools rank No. 18 in the state for Best School Districts.

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From Niche: “Niche is providing reviews and insight from everyday experts. We make choosing a neighborhood, college, or K-12 school a more transparent process. Founded in 2002 by Carnegie Mellon University students as CollegeProwler.com, we’ve since grown into one of the largest content startups in the country. We’re obsessed with providing students, families, and professionals with best-in-class content and deep insight into big life decisions. Every year, we help millions of people find their niche and thrive within it.”

Alabama Center for Real Estate Regarding Housing Growth/Sales: Athens/Limestone County residential sales totaled 65 units in February, an increase in sales growth of 20.4 percent, or 11 units above the same period last year. Year-to-date sales through February are up 27.6, percent from 2014. (This is according to NerdWallet’s ranking for Cities with a Strong Middle Class.) Out of 100 cities in the nation, NerdWallet ranked Athens No. 2 – behind Big Spring, Texas – for having a strong middle class. The middle class is rising in Athens, and has a 46.9 percent share of the aggregate income in Athens. In 2014, NerdWallet ranked Athens as the 18th best place in Alabama for homeownership. The area has a homeownership rate of 65.3%, and median monthly homeowner costs are $1,195. Athens grew by 5.4% between 2010 and 2012. NerdWallet is building accessible online tools and providing research and experts that can’t be found anywhere else, all to help consumers take back control of their choices in a marketing-driven, trillion-dollar industry.

Movto Real Estate Blog for Safest Cities in Alabama The blog ranked Athens the No. 7 Safest City in Alabama. Movoto Real Estate strives to make the home-buying process an easy and enjoyable experience by providing detailed housing information and access to knowledgeable local real estate agents.

U.S. Census Bureau’s Fastest Growing Counties In 2014, the Bureau reported Limestone County is the 65th fastest growing county in the nation. Al.com’s Best Cities in Alabama ranked Athens as the No. 9 Best City in the state in 2013.

Alabama Policy Institute’s List of Business-Friendly Cities The Institute listed Athens as the No. 3 Business-Friendly City in the state in 2013.

Healthy Counties The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute named Limestone County the No. 5 Healthiest County in the state.

Clearly, we have much to thank God for, so we did. The three of us, Mayor Ronnie, Holly, and I took a moment to pray, to express gratitude for all our blessings, and to help us be a contributing factor to making an already amazing town even more so. And then, of course, it was time for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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