Warwick ranked 25th of 248 livable small cities

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Warwick has been ranked as the 25th most livable small city by financial technology company SmartAsset, according to their findings in “The Most Livable Small Cities in the U.S.” study published in late March.

The study examined 248 small cities with populations between 65,000 and 99,000 and ranked them according to 11 metrics, including the concentration of entertainment establishments, bars and healthcare facilities, the unemployment rate and the median home-value to median income ratio.

Among the key findings was that it appears to be best to live close to a large city, rather than actually in the big city itself. Rhode Island has two representatives in the top 25, with Cranston coming in at an impressive 4th overall rank and Warwick at the tail end, ranked 25th. Flower Mound, Texas was the top overall ranked small city.

Data from the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns Survey revealed that Warwick has a total of 1.5 percent of its properties that qualify as “entertainment establishments,” a concentration on par or higher than many of the small cities on the list, including Cranston (which had a concentration of 1.4 percent).

“Everything is right here,” said Lauren Slocum, executive director of the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. “If you want art and culture, it's here or it's at a short distance. If you want outdoor activity, it's here. If you want more structured sports, it's here. If we you want animals or pets, or any number of things, it's all here.”

Another key metric, with data gathered from the U.S. Census 2016 survey, showed that housing in Warwick was below-average in affordability, as residents making the median income spend an average of 24.8 percent of their income on housing costs when buying a home at the median price range. This was the highest such percentage of any community in the top 25. A median income earner in Cranston purchasing a median-level home, for example, spent only 20.7 percent of their income on housing ion 2016.

Still, Slocum felt that housing in Warwick at least offered an affordability of options.

“You have multiple levels for housing. You have apartments, single family homes, some multi-family homes, you have every price bracket,” Slocum said. “There's a little bit of something for everyone.”

For both Warwick and Cranston, commute times for residents to make to work were perhaps a little higher than most Rhode Islanders would expect, at 23.2 and 23 minutes respectively. Other small cities had it much better, like Duluth, Minn., which had an average commute of just 15.7 minutes. Regardless, Slocum thinks that the amenities available by living in Warwick makes a brief commute worth it, even in Rhode Island.

“We have people that come to visit questioning whether or not they want to relocate and about how easy it is to get from here to anywhere, whether it’s in state or out of state, and I do think that is an advantage,” Slocum said.

Also reflected on the study was unemployment rate, which from 2016 Census data stood at 3.9 percent in Warwick and 4.9 percent in Cranston. The total cumulative score based on the 11 metrics totaled for Warwick 74.81 and 92.08 in Cranston (out of 100 possible points).

"I am excited to learn that SmartAsset named Warwick as the 25th most livable small city in the country," said Mayor Scott Avedisian. "I think that quality of life, great police and fire protection, open space, schools, parks and recreation all contribute to the livability of the city. It is a great community with 39 miles of coastline and a collection of small villages that people love being in. This is another great distinction for the city."

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richardcorrente

With more coastline than Cranston could dream of having Warwick should easily be ahead of our connecting city. Instead we rank 25th while Cranston is an enviable 4th place city.Cranston lowered taxes during the recession while Warwick increased them...a lot. I believe that is the main reason so many people moved out of Warwick and into Cranston. When taxes get cut, the number of taxpayers increase and total-tax-revenue increases as well. Cranston understands this. Warwick does not and we have paid the price for it. According to the U.S. Census Warwick lost 5,800 taxpayers in the last ten years. Our school population crashed from 17,000 to under 9,000 students. We HAVE to find a way to reverse this process. I have proposed tax rebate checks to attract new homebuyers and new businesses. I also propose a two year moratorium on building permits to stimulate construction. Both ideas will increase taxpayers and total-tax-revenue. If anyone else has a better idea let's hear it.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Friday, April 27, 2018
CrickeeRaven

The make-believe "mayor" again proves his inability to do basic research before posting false statements.

"Cranston lowered taxes during the recession while Warwick increased them..."

For the fiscal years 2007, 2008, and 2009, which are considered the peak of the recession, Cranston's residential property rates were: $14.58, $15.34, and $15.34, respectively -- an increase of 76 cents per thousand. A zero increase is not a "cut," no matter how many times the make-believe "mayor" claims otherwise.

Links:

FY2007: http://www.municipalfinance.ri.gov/documents/data/taxrates/2006.pdf

FY2008: http://www.municipalfinance.ri.gov/documents/data/taxrates/2007.pdf

FY2009: http://www.municipalfinance.ri.gov/documents/data/taxrates/2008.pdf

In addition, his impractical ideas for "tax rebate checks" [giving away revenue that he thinks will generate revenue] and a moratorium on building permits [stopping the issuance of permits that he thinks will increase construction] have already been soundly rejected by voters in 2016, and will be again this year.

Now that Council President Solomon, an actual leader in the Democratic party who legitimately represents the people of Warwick, has stated his intention to run for mayor, the end of the make-believe "mayor's" hopeless campaign is, thankfully, in sight.

Friday, April 27, 2018