Richmond #9: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012


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This might be the country mouse that roared. Richmond, a profoundly rural town that is 60% uninhabited woodlands and host of one of Rhode Island's most popular old-style entertainments, the Washington County Fair, rose 12 whole spots from 2011 to break into the Top 10 Best Communities. Let's hear it for the old-fashioned life in South County.

What made for Richmond's bold move this year? Education, for one. Part of the Chariho Regional School district, Richmond shares the #3 spot with regional partners Charlestown and Hopkinton in this year's Education assessment of 4th, 8th, and 11th grade NECAP performance--a 3-spot move up from 2011. Further, Richmond posted a #7 ranking in 2012's Safety assessment of property and violent crime data. Finally, a shift in Richmond's Affordability ranking, from #19 in 2011 up 10 spots to #9, added the final boost to this South County star. Welcome to the Top 10, Richmond.

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Richmond by the numbers

Established: 1669
Population: 7,708
Median household income: $72,819
Median housing price: $239,000

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 9
Affordability ranking: 9
Education ranking: 3
Economic condition ranking: 15
Safety ranking: 7
Arts & Culture ranking: 17
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 34

History in a nutshell:

Richmond was a part of Charlestown before it was separated and incorporated as its own town in 1747. The town was named after Edward Richmond, the Attorney General of the colony from 1671 to 1680 who was integral in the founding of the colony. 17th-century Richmond was a popular settlement area for early Americans and wealthy Narragansett planters brought wealth to the town. While agriculture was the primary way of life in the early days, industry took its hold and much of the wealth garnered from the planters moved into the bigger cities. However, Richmond had a part to play in industry as well. Aiding to its cause was Richmond’s location near the water which allowed for water powered mills to advance the textile industry. Today, Richmond is still a rural area, as about 60% of it remains uninhabited woodlands.

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