MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Money Magazine has named Chanhassen the best place to live in the United States.
According to the magazine, U.S. cities were ranked by taking into consideration affordability, economic growth and quality of life.
A city with a population of 26,771, Chanhassen is now one of the "pricier Twin City suburbs" with a median home price of $401,330 in 2020, median household income of $125,401 and June 2021 unemployment rate of 3.6%, according to the magazine. Overall, that puts the city ahead of the pack. Carmel, Indiana and Franklin, Tennessee are the second and third best place to live, respectively.
The magazine chose its list from cities with fewer than half a million people that met some baselines related to diversity, median income, and crime. Then it looked at other quality-of-life factors like cost of living, amenities and education.
"Some involved in local real estate will joke that there are people who buy in Chanhassen for the Prince connection. However, most of the roughly 300 new residents who move here each year have more practical reasons: good schools and jobs, relatively affordable housing and plenty of things to do," the author Samantha Sharf wrote.
Some of the popular spots for locals include, of course, the late Prince's studio and home Paisley park, which has now been transformed into a museum honoring the legendary artist. Other landmarks include the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Lake Minnetonka and the nearby Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
"My wife and I walk pretty much every day," said resident Don Decosse. "It's just a lot of conveniences. We have nice parks here so it's a good family area."
Additional reasons cited for the city's No. 1 placement include a massive expansion of commercial and industrial space since 1995, 95 miles of bike paths and "top-notch" school districts.
"It was nice news to hear, but honestly doesn't come as a surprise," said Chanhassen Elementary School Principal Greg Lange. "Chanhassen's a wonderful community."
"There are still some corn fields in the area but visit Chanhassen's walkable downtown and you'll find a Target, four grocery stores and lots of locally owned shops — many of them helmed by women from the community," Sharf wrote.
Speaking of women, the author notes that Chanhassen is run by mostly women; three of five council members, including Mayor Elise Ryan, are women. Half of the city's department heads are women, too.
The city is also "figuring out how to welcome new groups" with census data showing that the city's minority population (16%) has more than doubled in Chanhassen between 2010 and 2020, the magazine said. Still, the city remains less diverse than the state as a whole.
"We all recognize that this area is predominantly white," Ryan is quoted in the article. "So you have to make that extra effort to make sure everybody feels safe and welcome in the community where they live."
As for the future of the city, the population is expected to grow to 32,000 in the next decade, and the city is keeping up with demand by issuing housing unit permits, already issuing 181 of them in 2021.
Woodbury was named the 29th best place to live in the country, and Rosemount came in 32nd.
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