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Central Falls #39: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

 

Central Falls

It may be the city that is mentioned most in stories of controversy and woe in Rhode Island, and this year's rankings deal another blow to the Chocolate City as it lands at the bottom of the 2012 rankings. With its schools famously on the ropes of this unique community (the most densely populated city in Rhode Island and the 32nd most densely populated incorporated place in the United States), Central Falls declared municipal bankruptcy in August of 2011, and continues to struggle to bring up its standard of living for the many immigrants who call it home.

While well-heeled advocates like homegirl Viola Davis as well as other celebrities including Alec Baldwin have indeed rallied to the cause of saving the city's library, and the city's renowned chocolatier Andrew Shotts is involved in a tasty fundraising line of chocolate that benefits outreach programs in the city, that is not enough to outpace low scores across the board.

Central Falls has experienced interesting movement in this year's data, and some of it positive. The median household income rose slightly, from $33,520 in 2011 to $34,389 this year. On the other hand, the median housing price dropped, making Central Falls #3 in the state for Affordability (behind Glocester and Coventry). The city dropped 3 spots in Economic Condition, and one spot in Education, now holding last place overall in the state at #39. Central Falls also dropped a spot in the Safety ranking this year, and is now at #34 statewide.

Central Falls by the numbers

Established: 1730
Population: 19,376
Median household income: $34,389
Median housing price: $83,500

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 39
Affordability ranking: 3
Education ranking: 39
Economic Condition ranking: 37
Safety ranking: 34
Arts & Culture ranking: 37
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 25

History in a nutshell:

Central Falls was established in 1730, and incorporated as a city on February 21, 1895. This tiny city is located just west of Pawtucket on the Blackstone River. Its close proximity to Pawtucket has earned them both the title, the “Twin Cities.” It is famously known as one of the areas where King Philip terrorized white settlers during Metacom’s War. A monument in town marks one such event when on March 26, 1676, Captain Michael Pierce and a company of his Plymouth soldiers were ambushed and nearly obliterated. Rich with a history of industrial production, Central Falls was at one time called Chocolate Mill due to a chocolate factory located in the center of town (fittingly, one of the country's high-end chocolatiers, Garrison Confections, makes its manufacturing home in Central Falls).

Famous residents:

Lincoln Carter Almond, governor
Michael Breault, game designer, editor and author
Francis Condon, congressman
Viola Davis, actress
Carl Russell Fish, historian
Roland Hemond, baseball executive
Jack McGee, aviator
Glyn O'Malley, playwright
Charles Risk, congressman
John Robitaille, politician
Michelle Siwy, Fashion Designer

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

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