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South Kingstown #1: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

 

South Kingstown

It took three years, but this varied, beautiful South County gem has made its way to the very top of the rankings, as it arrives in 2012 at the #1 spot. What's working here, besides an ever-growing university culture courtesy of URI? How about 10 miles of unspoiled beaches, historic villages, nearly a third of the town's land preserved as open space, plus high test scores, lower taxes, and a strong arts & culture quotient? That's pretty much everything you want in a town. Plus, piping plovers.

South Kingstown wins overall by strong numbers on a variety of factors, but even more so, it's that balance that moves it ahead. For a town with such a strong Arts & Culture plus Restaurants & Bars ranking (#5 on both counts), South Kingstown also ranks high in Safety (#6), and Education (#9).  For schools with a Top 10 performance, an Affordability ranking of #26 isn't as hard to swallow. It's that kind of balance, once again. Throw in Theatre by the Sea, and the lively center of Wakefield, and it's pretty near perfect down there.

South Kingstown by the numbers

Established: 1657
Population: 30,639
Median household income: $71,192
Median housing price: $290,000

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 1
Affordability ranking: 26
Education ranking: 9
Economic condition ranking: 13
Safety ranking: 6
Arts & Culture ranking: 5
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 5

History in a nutshell:

Before its incorporation as a separate town, South Kingstown was a part of Kings Town along with North Kingstown and Narragansett. It was in the Kings Town area where the Narragansett and Niantic Indians lived. The first settlement in this area was located in South Kingstown and it was here in 1675 that colonial soldiers gave King Philip his greatest defeat in the Metacom War. While farming was the main activity in the early periods, industry rose with the help of the Wakefield Manufacturing Company and the Peace Dale Mill. South Kingstown became an intellectual hub for young students as well when the Rhode Island Collage of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was founded in 1892. Today, the community has experienced great residential expansion and population influx. There is a great drive for continued industrial growth and a continuation of its place as a popular destination for summer resorts.

Famous residents:

Oliver Hazard Perry
Kate French, actress
Erika Van Pelt, American Idol 2012 tenth place finalist

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

For more Best Communities coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.

 

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