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Editorial: A top small town

Posted on Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Here we are again.

We’ve got another ranking to opine upon.

This week, real estate firm Movoto named the Town of Ashland one of the top-10 best small towns in America. Ashland joined Vienna, Bridgewater and Purcellville as towns in Virginia to make the top-10 list, with Vienna taking the top spot. Ashland ranked ninth.

To crunch the numbers, Movoto used data from the 2010 U.S. Census and other, well, less scientific resources like Areavibes, Sperling’s Best Places and Yelp.
After whittling the list of towns with populations between 5,000 and 20,000 down to 202 nationwide, Movoto then ranked each town based on factors like quality of life, crime, tax rates, unemployment, commute time and weather.

Movoto cited the town’s low employment rate, low taxes and low cost of living as overall deciding factors.

How any locality in Northern Virginia topped Ashland with “commute time” on the list of deciding factors beats us and probably baffles anyone else who has tried to navigate the transportation gridlock found in the commonwealth’s northern locales.

Movoto is known for its listings; others include “Most Exciting Place in Iowa” and “Sexiest Small Cities in America.” If only Ashlanders showed off more midriff, just think where we might have landed.

We are certainly glad Ashland made this list. If anything else, the top-10 ranking has more people talking about our town, which can’t be a bad thing.
But, we newspaper-people tend to be nitpickers. It’s either a genetic predisposition for which they have yet to develop a proper serum or is something the deadlines wear into us.

Certainly, the factors Movoto included are useful. But we can think of a lot of things about Ashland that make it a wonderful small town that weren’t taken into consideration and could fill twice this space listing them.

But we’d love to hear what you, our readers, think. What, to you, makes Ashland a great small town?

Your opinion means more to us than a real estate company’s.