Whitewater named 'dreamtown'

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Kayla Bunge
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
— Whitewater is a “diamond in the rough” for people looking to escape congested cities and sprawling suburbs, said City Manager Kevin Brunner.

Bizjournals, the online media division of American City Business Journals, the nation’s largest publisher of metropolitan business newspapers, recently named the top 10 “dreamtowns” in America, the small towns that offer the best quality of life without the big city hassle.

Whitewater was ranked No. 22, garnering the city honorable mention “dreamtown” status.

Bizjournals compared 140 micropolitan areas in 20 statistical categories, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A micropolitan area consists of a central community with 10,000 to 50,000 residents and the surrounding countryside. It’s essentially a small-scale version of a metropolitan area.

The study was inspired by the growing interest in small-town living, and it identified the communities with the highest quality-of-life rankings.

The highest scores went to “well-rounded places with light traffic, healthy economies, moderate costs of living, impressive housing stocks, strong educational systems and easy access to big-city attractions,” according to the Bizjournals study.

Jimmy Peltier, the Irvin L. Young professor of entrepreneurship and professor of marketing at UW-Whitewater, said it’s no surprise Whitewater made the honorable mention list.

The city is home to UW-Whitewater, a growing campus that regularly is the recipient of accolades for its educational and athletic programs, he said.

“That drives much of what the (Bizjournals) criteria set out,” he said.

Peltier said the university is one of the city’s key assets, not only because it provides a strong education, but also because it provides cultural opportunities including Warhawks athletics and performances at the Young Auditorium.

Brunner said Whitewater’s ideal location also helped it achieve “dreamtown” status.

“What’s really attractive is we’re in the center of everything,” he said.

Whitewater is within a manageable driving distance to Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago, he said, and its placement in that geographical triangle allows residents the opportunity to regularly experience big-city shopping, dining and entertainment.

Peltier said the small-town feel of Whitewater makes it a desirable place for many people, from young families to retirees.

“It’s a small community where people know each other,” he said. “It’s that small-town ‘I know you’ part of it that really sets it aside.”


1. Torrington, Conn.

2. Bozeman, Mont.

3. Lexington Park, Md.

4. Lebanon, N.H.-Vt.

5. Helena, Mont.

6. Kalispell, Mont.

7. Mankato-North Mankato, Minn.

8. Oak Harbor, Wash.

9. Stevens Point, Wis.

10. Concord, N.H.

Source: Bizjournals

Quality of life score*: 7.60

Average commuting time (minutes): 23.2

Median household income: $51,846

Management and professional jobs: 30.6%

Homeownership rate: 72.6%

Adults (25 or older) with bachelor’s degrees: 25.2%

Air mileage to closest major metro: 71 miles (Chicago)

Micropolitan area population (2006): 101,007

Source: Bizjournals

*Bizjournals used a 20-part formula to rate each micropolitan area's quality of life. Indicators included population growth, commuting time, household income, poverty rate, unemployment rate, homeownership rate, house value and education.

Last updated: 10:01 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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