Nationally known CNN Money Magazine has recognized West Fargo as one of the best places to live in 2009, including the community in its listing of America's top 100 small towns based on a population of 50,000 or less.
West Fargo was the only community from North Dakota listed, ranking 81 with a population of 23,100, tucked between Bettendorf, Iowa, and Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Four cities from Minnesota were also honored, Chanhassen, ranking number 2, Chaska, 20, Lino Lakes, 36, and Owatonna, 97.
West Fargo City Administrator Jim Brownlee said criteria for the distinction was based on growth, job creation and median income of residents.
CNNMoney.com prefaced the listing on their Web site with this introductory statement citing the reasoning for the selections. "And the winners are...Yes strong local economies still exist. These small towns have 'em - plus great schools, affordable homes, low crime, and much more."
Brownlee said the city is thrilled by the honor. "There were only five cities recognized in the tri-state area and we were the only one from North Dakota. It is wonderful to have national recognition supporting what we've known all along - that West Fargo is a great community in which to live."
West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern said he is also elated by the announcement. "To me it's awesome that West Fargo was distinguished out of all the communities in the country. Often we are lumped together as a part of the metro region, so it is really nice for West Fargo to be singled out on its own and that someone is paying attention to what we have to offer. It really gave me a good feeling that we are being recognized for the great city that we are."
For more information on the entire listing, visit CNNMoney.com.