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'Longmont Is Awesome': Front Range City Tops Boomtowns In America

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) - City leaders and business owners celebrated a new report naming Longmont the top "Boomtown" in the U.S. The designation is based on a variety of factors including unemployment, population growth, the number of businesses created, and the local housing market.

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"When I first heard, I was excited," said Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley. "Longmont is awesome, we're growing."

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The city is one of several in Colorado to make the list compiled by SmartAsset, a personal finance tech company. Greeley and Denver were two other cities in the top ten of the report.

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"We're beginning to be known for places to eat and hang out, and just a good place to raise a family," said Bagley. "We're right in the middle of everything and we're easy to get to."

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The owner of The Roost is an example of the rapid growth happening in the city and the impact it has on its residents. Sean Gafner opened the restaurant in 2015 and has started two others in the city since then.

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"What I've seen in just five years is the new businesses coming, are saying we have got to bring in our 'A' Game, and our 'A' Game needs to be as great as the 'A' Game in Denver and in Boulder," said Gafner.

Sean Gafner (credit: CBS)

Development in Longmont also highlights the growth in the analysis from SmartAsset. South Main Station is a mixed used residential and commercial complex under construction. Tenants will move in as early as this month. The developer told CBS4 it was a challenge initially to get funding for such a major project, one that looks like it belongs in Denver. It replaced a turkey processing factory and is one of multiple new construction sites in that part of the city.

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"It's not slowing down anytime soon," Gafner said. "This is where I want to be, this is where my life is, my family is."

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He employs around 130 people at his new restaurant, a sign of the job creation he and other business owners have brought to the city. Gafner says the support for startups is unique in Longmont, unlike what he experienced in California before moving to Colorado.

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"We've been doing great things, we continue doing great things and we're just going to hold steady, stay the course," Bagley said. "It's a fabulous place, I wouldn't live anywhere else."

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Three cities -- Longmont, Greeley, and Denver -- placed in the Top 10 on the list compiled by SmartAsset. Longmont was named the fastest-growing city in the country overall. Greeley was fifth and Denver was seventh.

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Fort Collins (15th), Highlands Ranch (30th), Arvada (34th), and Thornton (42nd) all placed in the top 50 boomtowns. Those cities stand out for their low unemployment rates and high percentage growth in housing.

The full Smartasset report can be found on their website.

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