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Magazine Ranks County Third in Top 10 Best Places to Live
Magazine Picks Livingston County as America's 3rd Best Rural Community

Monday, February 4, 2008, C-T

Everyone has their own reasons for hanging their hat in Livingston County. Some families have lived here for generations and others have recently moved to the area for one reason or another. Those unfamiliar with Livingston County, however, may not be aware of its amenities, but The Progressive Farmer magazine is getting the word out and has, in fact, listed Livingston County as one of the best places to live in rural America in its February 2008 edition. In its fourth annual list of rural counties, Livingston County is listed third among the top 10 best places to live in rural America and is ranked No. 2 in the Midwest region.

According to the magazine's web site, each year The Progressive Farmer partners with OnBoard LLC, a real estate research firm, to put together a preliminary list of rural counties that meet certain criteria. In searching for the best place to live in rural America, magazine editors examined household income, household spending, home and land prices, crime rates, air quality, education, access to health care and more. Then, for several months out of the year a team of editors traveled to those top counties, taking pictures, interviewing residents and getting the lay of the land. According to Jena Constant, with the Chillicothe Development Corporation, senior editor Jim Patrico met with community leaders in September and then, equipped with a camera, Patrico took a tour of the county, getting a scenic overview of the area. His story and pictures can now be viewed online and in the magazine this month.

Specifically, the magazine touts Chillicothe's city-owned short line railroad that serves the city's business park, it's city-owned electric utility, and its municipal airport with a new runway long enough to accommodate private jets. The magazine also lists a number of large projects completed recently through private donations including the Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center, the Jenkins Expo Center at the new 4-H and FFA Fairgrounds, and the Grand River Area Family YMCA. Ron Beetsma, who with his brother, Buddy, farm around 6,500 acres in Livingston County is also featured in the article as saying that the county is a good place to farm with "usually good" weather patterns and is centrally located to Kansas City markets. The article also notes that the county has no property taxes, but instead, generates its revenue by a half-cent sales tax back in the 1980s.

Also listed in the magazine and online is information on recent land sales in Livingston County including the following sales:

  • 300 acres with CRP, timber, hunting; $600,000 or $2,000 per acre
  • 538 acres with timber, cattle ranch; $885,000 or $1,651 per acre
  • 45 acres, excellent hunting; $78,500 or $1,744 per acre.

The article also lists various statistics on the county's economics, education, crime, health care, climate, and culture. A slideshow on the website shows several sites in the community including a photo of the Beetsma family, the Day Break Cafe in Dawn, students out playing at recess at Southwest R-1 School, local artist Kelly Poling, seated in front of one of his murals in downtown, the Sliced Bread marker at the original site where sliced bread was originally sold and a sign in the window of Momma B's Cafe and Mini Mart in Ludlow.

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