You know how you see those random headlines on websites like MSN.com that mentions such things as "Best Places to Dine" or "How to Ask You Boss for a Raise" and you think, "No big deal, nothing real interesting to read there," but you just can't help clicking on the link anyway to find out what it's really about? Well, I clicked on the link on MSN.com that outlines the Top 10 places to live in the U.S. for 2008 and was shocked to see my small town of Huntsville, AL among them.
According to Relocate-America.com, the top 10 cities to live in the U.S. are:
Read the full list at Relocate-America.com.
- Charlotte, N.C. (voted #1 two years in a row)
- San Antonio
- Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Greenville, S.C.
- Tulsa, Okla.
- Stevens Point, Wis.
- Asheville, N.C.
- Albuquerque, N.M.
- Huntsville, Ala.
I'm very surprised and proud at the same time. I've lived here for nine years and at first I wasn't sure if I'd stay. There didn't seem to be much going on here and I'm use to living in larger metro areas with a little more hustle and bustle. But after being here the first year and talking to some of the residents - some of which had recently relocated here themselves and liked it - I decided to give Huntsville a chance. And I'm glad I did!
The city is booming! We only have a population of about 150,000 (120,000 according to the 2000 census), but the placed has become more crowded over the years. Not soon after I moved here places that were tree-lined areas were soom development with new homes and shopping centers. Looking back I'm amazed at how fast the city has grown in the short time I've lived here.
Huntsville has alot of the same amenities that some major cities have, i.e, fine dining, theater, a top rated orchestra, semi-pro sports (baseball, arena football, hockey and for a time we even had an NBDL team, the Huntsville Flight), tons of entertainment beyond movies (although we've had two new cinema houses open up here in the last two year, the Rave and Monaco Pictures at the new Bridgestreet Mall - an outdoor mall which in itself is pretty awesome!), three large malls (including the outdoor mall I just mentioned), not to mention the scenery is very beautiful and the people are very friendly.
Property taxes are low, per captia income is very responable, and we have the lowest unemployment rate of any major city in the state (currently 4% compared to nearly 20% in the state captical). Huntsville is also the 3rd largest city in the state of Alabama (by population; although most registries still have us 4th behind Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery in that order) It's quiet here; very little crime. And while other large cities seem to be struggling in the housing market, we've got housing construction going on everywhere (mostly due to the BRAC). In fact, the part of the city where I live (southside) there are five new housing developments either in the planning stages, under construction or nearly complete with more spreadout all across the city.
This city has more going for it that I ever thought it would. And despite everything that's happening, Huntsville has retained its small town appeal. I like that. It's a very family friendly place. I think I'll stick around for another ten years. By then my youngest daughter will be 16. We'll see what happens by then.